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Zefzafi’s lawyer to HRW and Amnesty : The «Hirak»'s leader alleges police beat him

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today that the police allegedly «severely beat» the detained Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi. Relying on an account given by one of the activist’s lawyers, the international organizations call for a medical examination of the detainee to ensure his safety.

Nasser Zafzafi claims being beaten by the police, an account delivered by his lawyer says./ Ph. Mohamed Siali - EFE
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Based on an account presented by one of the «Hirak» activist’s lawyers, namely Abdelaziz Nouyadi, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today that the «police arrested and severely beat the de facto leader of ongoing social protests in Morocco’s Rif region», Nasser Zefzafi.

According to an article published today on the official website of Human Rights Watch and entitled «Morocco: Protest Leader Alleges Police Beat Him», the international organization along with Amnesty International spoke to Nouyadi about the situation of the Hirak detainees including Zefzafi.

According to the lawyer, Nasser Zefzafi «requested a medical examination to document the abuse when he appeared before a prosecutor on June 5. But the request has yet to be fulfilled».

Zefzafi's account
 
On the 12th of June, Zefzafi told Abdelaziz Nouyadi when he visited him at Oukacha prison in Casablanca that : «At about 6:30 a.m. on May 29, a dozen police officers from the National Brigade of the Judiciary Police (BNPJ) broke down the door of the house where Zefzafi and two other activists, Fahim Ghattas and Mohamed Haki, were staying», Zefzafi added as reported by the same source that «the police broke furniture and windows, and assaulted the three men even though they showed no resistance».
 
Zefzafi told his lawyer «he had a 1.5-centimeter cut on his scalp, another one below his left eye, and bruises on his back», indicating that «the police insulted the three men in vulgar terms, pressing them to shout ‘Long live the King !' and calling them ‘separatists'».

The same source points out that the detainees were later transferred to Al Hoceima and then to Casablanca where Zefzafi was taken for medical care and given new clothing. Abdelaziz Nouyadi, moreover, told Human Rights Watch that he met Ghattas on the 12th of June whose version of the story resembled the one narrated by Zefzafi.
 
Calling for a fair trial

As reported by Human Rights Watch «at least 83 were prosecuted in al Hoceima, of whom 32 were sentenced to prison for between 2 and 18 months». The humanitarian organization as a response called the Moroccan authorities to ensure a fair trial for the detainees and investigate the alleged acts of violence. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North African director of Human Rights Watch urged the Moroccan authorities to «investigate the credible allegations of police violence against Zefzafi and refrain from filing any charges that stem from peaceful speech or protest».

On the other hand, Heba Morayef, the North Africa research director for Amnesty International stated that «besides Zefzafi and Ghattas, many other Rif protesters and activists have reported police brutality following arrests» indicating that «to combat impunity and ensure fair trials, courts in Casablanca and Al-Hoceima should ensure prompt medical examinations of defendants and preserve all relevant physical evidence».
 
Nasser Zefzafi who is the leader of the «Hirak» movement was arrested on the 29th of May in Al Hoceima days after interrupting a Friday sermon in a mosque in the northern city.

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