Amnesty International believes verdicts returned in «unfair Hirak trials must be overturned»

Amnesty International believes verdicts returned in «unfair Hirak trials must be overturned»./Ph. DR
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Sentences 53 Hirak protesters received must be «overturned due to the unfair nature of their trials», said Amnesty International on Wednesday 27th of June following the Casablanca Court of Appeals’ verdicts issued Tuesday.

«These convictions are unsafe given the extremely unfair nature of the trials», said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

For the London-based non-governmental organization, «Nasser Zefzafi and others who have been convicted and imprisoned for protesting peacefully for social justice or covering demonstrations online should never have been on trial in the first place».

On Tuesday, the criminal chamber of the Casablanca Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited verdict, sentencing Hirak figure Nasser Zefzafi and 52 activists from the Rif to terms ranging from one to 20 years in prison.

The sentences were described as harsh and unfair by some Moroccan politicians and Human Rights associations. Denouncing the convictions, hundreds demonstrated yesterday in Casablanca, Rabat an Al Hoceima.

«Those reasonably suspected of responsibility for recognizably criminal offences should be retried in proceedings that full conform to international fair trial standards, or released», stressed Heba Morayef.

Questioning the nature of the trial, the NGO raised questions about the «so-called confessions submitted as evidence as detainees have described torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of the police during interrogation».

Amnesty International referred to the case of detained protester Omar Bouhrass who told the investigating judge at the Casablanca Court of Appeals that he had been tortured.

His lawyer told Amnesty that the police «ordered him to say ‘Long live the King’, stripped him of his underwear, broke two of his teeth, and threatened and insulted him following his arrest in Al Hoceima».

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