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FI 140/19-1
Morocco
Abgeschlossen am 18. Dezember 2019

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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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.

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