Hirak lawyer Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui sentenced to 20 months of imprisonment

The Al Hoceima court of first instance sentenced on Thursday Hirak lawyer, Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui, to 20 months in prison. The latter explained to Yabiladi the circumstances surrounding such a verdict.

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Hirak Lawyer, Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui sentenced to 20 months in prison./Ph. DR

A member of the Hirak detainees defence committee in Casablanca, lawyer Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui was sentenced on Thursday, 8th of February, to 20 months in prison by the Al Hoceima court of first instance and fined MAD 500 by the same court.

The prosecution accuses the lawyer of «insulting officials and representatives of the authority while on duty», in addition to «insulting and threatening» public bodies. The lawyer is also prosecuted for «incitement to commit crimes» and «organizing unauthorized assemblies».

Reported by Alaoual, an Arabic-language online newspaper, the information was confirmed to Yabiladi by El Bouchtaoui :

«My Facebook posts through which I showed support for the Hirak detainees and the unrest in the Rif region did not please some parties. They were annoyed and did not want free voices to enlighten the general public».

«A clear message»

For the moment, El Bouchtaoui’s attorney has not decided yet on appealing : «We are still studying our next steps ; coordinating with the Hirak national support committee and with the chairman of the bar association».

The convicted lawyer is convinced that «this is a political trial to shut him down and put forward the version of the story provided by the authorities regarding the Hirak movement, whose demands are and will remain legitimate». Meanwhile, the bar association in Tetouan is showing support for Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui, who considers this ruling «a clear message to all members of the Hirak detainees defense committee and the detainees». Despite the pressure, the lawyer said he is determined to remain true to his principles and independence.

This verdict comes at a time when the trial of the Hirak detainees in Casablanca is bogged down because of the increasingly heated debates with members of the Hirak detainees’ defense committee.

Since the beginning of the trial, hearings have been suspended because of the tense exchanges between the lawyers, the judge and the public prosecutors.

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