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International appeal to the Moroccan authorities to drop charges against human rights defenders

18 November 2015

Privacy International is deeply disturbed by the Moroccan government’s crackdown on media, human rights defenders, and civi society. Our friend Hisham Almiraat will be appearing in court on Thursday November 19th, 2015 along with six other journalists and human rights defenders members, and is facing the charges of “receiving foreign funding without notifying the General Secretariat of the government” and charges of “threatening the internal security of the State”, an offense that can lead to up to five years in prison. The necessary role of adversarial journalism and independent civil society research is crucial to democratic society and we are deeply troubled by the Moroccan government's harsh and brutal response to our friend's work. We urge the Moroccan authorities to drop all charges and end the harassment of human rights activists and journalists.

STATEMENT:

Maâti Monjib, Hicham Mansouri, Samad Iach, Mohamed Elsabr and Hisham Almiraat (real name Hisham Khribchi) are facing charges of “threatening the internal security of the State”, an offense that can lead to up to five years in prison. Rachid Tarek and Maria Moukrim are facing charges of “receiving foreign funding without notifying the General Secretariat of the government”, which if found guilty, can result in fines.

The trial for the case is scheduled for November 19th, 2015. Morocco has seen a dramatic increase in human rights violations and attacks against journalists in the past year. Crackdowns on independent media, human rights defenders and civil society have led to a stifling environment that limits freedom of expression and association in the country.

We call the international community's attention to the continuous interrogations, harassment, threats and arrests, as a deliberate attempt by the Moroccan authorities to silence dissidents. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right (Article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The Moroccan government violates this universal right with the charges against Maâti Monjib, Hicham Mansouri, Samad Iach, Hisham Almiraat, Mohamed Elsabr, Rachid Tarek and Maria Moukrim.

We urge the Moroccan authorities to drop all charges and end the harassment of human rights activists and journalists. Freedom of expression should not be on trial.

This statement is supported by:

Free Press Unlimited
Committee to Protect Journalists
Media Legal Defense Initiative
Article 19
Privacy International
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Dejusticia
Karisma
Nawaat (Tunisia)
Al Khatt
Editorial Board, Mamfakinch.com, Morocco
Ron Deibert, Director, The Citizen Lab
The Association for Progressive Communications 
PAX
Small World News
Digital Rights Foundation