Hirak activist Nawal Benaissa seeks asylum in the Netherlands

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Hirak activist Nawal Benaissa. / Ph. DR

Hirak female figure Nawal Benaissa has applied for asylum in the Netherlands, she told the Spanish news agency EFE on Wednesday.

Benaissa explained that she is seeking asylum because «she could be sent to prison at any time» if she stays in the Kingdom. The activist said that authorities are trying to «restraint [her] freedom».

In April, Moroccan police prevented Benaissa from leaving the country as she was preparing to travel to the Netherlands to attend a social justice event.

«When I arrived this morning in the Nador airport police station, I was told that my passport has been invalidated by the Interior Ministry and that I am not allowed to travel abroad», Nawal Benaissa told EFE.

The activist, who was with one of her children, was expected to attend an event, hosted by the Dutch Socialist Party (PS).

In October, London-based non-governmental organization Amnesty International urged the Moroccan authorities to «overturn the conviction of Nawal Benaissa».

The NGO said that Benaissa was «intimidated and harassed» for being part of the unrest which started in October 2016, following the death of fishmonger Mohcine Fikri.

For the record, Nawal Benaissa was prosecuted for calling Al Hoceima's inhabitants to join a Hirak protest and criticizing security authorities in Facebook posts published on August and June 2017.

She was arrested four times in 2017 and was told by the authorities to deactivate her Facebook account.

She was also convicted of «protesting in an undeclared demonstration, insulting law enforcement officers and incitement to commit criminal offences» and sentenced to 10 months in prison.

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