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Hirak : Families and lawyers take their anger to social media, denouncing the heavy sentences

After Hirak detainees received heavy sentences, ranging from 20 to 2 years, their families and some of their lawyers took their disappointment to social media to denounce the court’s decision.

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Hirak detainees, held in the Casablanca local prison, for participating to protests in the Rif region were handed heavy sentences, Tuesday 26th of June, by the Casablanca Appeal court. The news came like a bombshell after a trial that lasted for about a year.

Accused of «undermining national security», and «receiving funds and means to harm the Kingdom’s sovereignty», the court handed these young people sentences, ranging from 20 to two years in jail.

Consequently, Hirak detainees’ families and lawyers took their disappointment to social media, denouncing the «unfair» sentences that 53 inmates received yesterday.

Families' disappointment

In a Facebook post, Abdellatif Ablak, the brother of Hirak detainee Rabii Ablak who received a 5-year sentence, denounced the court’s decision indicating : «Five years behind the bars without being able to argue his innocence».

«Rabii’s phones contain evidence, showing that Hirak detainees are innocent», wrote Abdellatif Ablak, stressing that his brother «was called by influential officials, who threatened and blackmailed him…  It is time to make of this a big deal, an international or national public matter».

Meanwhile, Mohamed the brother of Nabil Ahamjik who was sentenced to 20 years in prison expressed his anger on Facebook, writing a few hours after the court’s decision that Nabil was «just an orphan and unemployed young man who protested, calling for basic rights and now he has to serve a 20-year sentence».

«Some people used to say that I am a pessimistic person but those who know how Moroccan officials think understand where I am coming from», he argued.

Protest singer Silya Ziani, who was arrested in June 2017 and later pardoned in July, was also there to comment on the heavy sentences her friends and fellow activists received yesterday in Casablanca. «All in all, injustice summarizes our lives», she wrote in a Facebook post.

Lawyers denounce the heavy sentences

Hirak lawyers have also preferred to voice their disagreement with the pronounced verdict on social media. Member of Hirak detainees’ defense committee Naima EL Gallaf posted a black photo with a caption saying, «Justice is not available in your country».

In a different post the lawyer argued, saying that «the end of a system starts with restrictions on freedom and individual liberties. Indeed, you are a gang».

Lawyer Mohamed Aghnaj, who is also a member of the Hirak defense committee, shared the same opinion as his colleague stating : «These heavy sentences gave me insomnia».

Hirak detainees’ families and their lawyers were not the only ones that found a refuge in social media, condemning the heavy sentences. Moroccan internet users changed their profile pictures on Facebook to black ones to denounce the court’s decision and show support for the tormented families.

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