Morocco is «intensifying its crackdown on activists», according to Amnesty International

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To UK-based NGO Amnesty International, Moroccan authorities «are intensifying their crackdown on peaceful voices with a new wave of arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of individuals, including a journalist, rappers and YouTubers, many of whom have been targeted simply for criticizing the King or other officials».

«Morocco authorities’ concept of a ‘red line’ is essentially a ban on criticizing the monarchy or state institutions, which is being used with renewed enthusiasm to target peaceful activists and artists. YouTubers, rappers and journalists now face harsh prison sentences after being targeted with repressive laws», said Heba Morayef from the organization in a note published Tuesday.

Amnesty International revealed that it has documented the cases of ten activists who have been arrested and sentenced since November 2019. Four of these people were tried for «offending» or «insulting» the King or the Monarchy. «All ten individuals have been accused of «offending» public officials or institutions, all crimes under Morocco’s Penal Code», the NGO said.

«It is urgent that the authorities amend Morocco’s Penal Code which retains an arsenal of provisions that criminalize freedom of expression and have been unlawfully used to supress dissent in the country».

Amnesty International

Earlier in February, International NGO Human Rights Watch made the same conclusions. HRW said said that Morocco «should immediately free those who are being detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and drop the charges».

It also recalled that the Moroccan authorities have arrested and prosecuted at least 10 activists since September 2019.

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