Hirak : Amnesty denounces the conviction of Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui

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Hirak lawyer Abdessakek El Bouchtaoui./Ph. DR

In a statement published Monday on its official website, Amnesty International, a British-based ONG focused on human rights, denounced the ruling pronounced against Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui, a lawyer and member of the Hirak detainees defense committee in Casablanca.

The latter 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 courthouse. El Bouchtaoui is accused 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».

Amnesty International believes that «the court presented as evidence 114 posts, published on the lawyer’s Facebook account, as well as comments addressed to national media, in which he criticized the security forces’ use of force against peaceful protesters».

Previously contacted by Yabiladi, El Bouchtaoui has indeed indicated that : «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».

In a statement to the NGO, he added saying that «it is the first time since 1980 that a verdict is pronounced against a lawyer, solely on the basis of his opinions».

Meanwhile, Amnesty International «urged the authorities to immediately annul [his] conviction» as well as that of «all peaceful protesters, human rights defenders and journalists prosecuted or detained solely for exercising their rights in peaceful assembly».

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