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FI 140/19-1
Aktiv seit 6. November 2019 | Noch 29 Tage Laufzeit

Detained journalist ends his hunger strike

AI-Index: MDE 29/1358/2019

On 31 October 2019, detained journalist Rabie Lablak ended his 45 day-long hunger strike, which he started in protest of the alleged torture and ill-treatment he has suffered at the hands of Moroccan security officials. The prison administration claimed that Rabie never informed the administration of his hunger strike and that his activities proved he was in good health. In April 2019, Rabie Lablak was transferred to Tanger 2 prison after being detained in Casablanca prison in May 2017 for his involvement in the Hirak El-Rif protests.


Rabie Lablak is one of several Moroccan journalists, activists and human rights defenders who were sentenced to prison in 2017 for their involvement in peaceful protests as part of the Hirak El-Rif in Morocco. On 11 April 2019, he was transferred from Okasha Prison in Casablanca to Tangier 2 Prison in Tangier. This has further isolated Rabie and his fellow detainees, as it made it almost impossible for their families to visit detained relatives since it is very far from their homes. At the time of his transfer, Rabie was on a hunger strike, to demand freedom and protest an unfair trial.

Between 26 May and 15 July 2017, Moroccan law enforcement officers arrested 54 individuals with ties to Hirak El-Rif including protest leader Nasser Zefzafi, peaceful protesters Nabil Hamjike, Ouassim El Bousestatii, Achraf El Yakhloufi, Mohamed Jelloul, and Mohamed El Mejaoui, journalists Hamid El Mahdaoui and Rabie Lablak and citizen-journalists Mohamed El Asrihi, Hussein El Idrissi, Fouad Essaidi; and neighbours and friends of Nasser Zefzafi, including brothers Ibrahim and Othmane Bouziane.

The Hirak El-Rif called for social justice and improved public services in the long-marginalized northern region of Morocco. Defence lawyers say many are facing trumped-up charges because of their peaceful protest, dissent, or online coverage of the demonstrations. Since May 2017, police have arrested hundreds of people over the Rif protests, many of them arbitrarily, including peaceful activists and some journalists and many have already been sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years on protest-related charges.

Several of the Hirak El-Rif detainees have gone on hunger strike since 2017, including 35 in Ain Sbaa 1 Local Prison in 2017. Some went on hunger strike to protest against apparent reprisals against hunger-strikers during cell and strip-searches on 20 September 2017. Morocco’s General Delegation for Penitentiary Administration and Reinsertion has repeatedly denied the hunger strikes of Hirak EL-Rif detainees in public, even though several detainees met judicial officials and were moved to the prison infirmary because of their deteriorating health.


Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.
  • Please take action before 18 December 2019.
  • Preferred language: Arabic, French or English. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Your Excellency,

On 31 October 2019, the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) announced that detained journalist Rabie Lablak decided to end his hunger strike after 45 days due to the deterioration of his health condition. Lablak began his hunger strike on 6 September 2019 in protest of the alleged torture and ill-treatment he has suffered at the hands of Moroccan security officials since his arrest in 2017.

On Friday 25 October 2019, Lablak’s lawyer Souad Brahma confirmed that his health was critical. He was barely able to talk or walk and was brought to her with the help of two people; «he visibly lost so much weight and his body was so weak». After the lawyer’s visit, Lablak was admitted to the prison’s health facility that, according to his lawyer, is poorly equipped and inadequate to manage his critical state. While his family and lawyers were alarmed about his health condition, the prison administration issued three statements denying knowledge about the hunger strike and continuously neglected his deteriorating health during his hunger strike.

A delegate from the Moroccan Council for Human Rights visited Lablak on 20 October 2019. The doctor in charge of prisons at the council, who was part of the delegation, was appalled by the state of Lablak’s health and confirmed the urgency of transferring him to a hospital. Despite all these confirmations, Rabie was denied access to adequate medical care and thus his life was put in danger.

In June 2018, Rabie Lablak was sentenced to five years in prison for «spreading false information and the usurpation of the profession of journalism» in what his lawyer alleges was an unfair trial.

I therefore ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Rabie Lablak and quash his conviction. Pending his release, I call on you to ensure he has access to qualified health professionals and healthcare provided in line with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent. I finally call on you to investigate the conditions of his detention and the lack of adequate healthcare provided during his hunger strike.

Yours sincerely,

Appeals to

Mr. Mustapha Ramid
Minister in charge of Human Rights
Angle Avenue Ibn Sina
et Rue Oued El Makhazine
Agdal - Rabat 10070

Fax: +212537671155

Your Excellency,



Copies to

Ambassade du Royaume du Maroc
Helvetiastrasse 42
3005 Bern

Fax: 031 351 03 64
E-mail: ;
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