Blogger media

Moroccans Protest Blogger’s Trial Over Anti-Police Facebook Post

Last month, Saida El-Alami went on a hunger strike to protest her “unfair trial”. El-Alami ended the strike on Tuesday for health reasons, according to his family.

“Moroccan authorities are harassing (…) activists with false accusations in a brazen attempt to silence critical voices and suppress peaceful activism,” Amnesty said. [Getty]

Several Moroccan activists protested On Wednesday, the “unfair trial” against Moroccan blogger and activist Saida Al-Alami for an anti-police Facebook post.

In Casablanca, several prominent Moroccan activists gathered outside the city’s appeals court to chant against “censorship of freedom of expression” in the kingdom and called for El-Alami’s immediate release.

On April 29, the lower court sentenced El-Alami to two years in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (about $500) for “insulting public officials”.

El-Alami’s long-awaited appeal trial has been postponed from Wednesday until September 12.

Saida El-Alami, a Moroccan human rights defender and blogger, was arrested on 23 March. She faces charges for social media posts where she spoke about the harassment she faced from police and the continued crackdown on journalists and activists.

The activist also used her Facebook page to address social and political issues in Morocco.

Amnesty International says that prohibiting Moroccans from “insulting” or “disrespecting” state officials or public figures, the military or other public institutions is a violation of their right to freedom of expression.

Last month, El-Alami went on a hunger strike to protest his “unfair trial”. She ended the strike on Tuesday for health reasons, according to her family.

In April, Amnesty International accused Rabat of using false charges to detain activists to stifle criticism of the authorities.

“Moroccan authorities are harassing and intimidating activists through baseless criminal investigations and false accusations with the brazen aim of silencing critical voices and suppressing peaceful activism,” said Amna Guellali, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa to Amnesty International, in the organization’s report.

On April 25, Rabie Al Ablaq, a Hirak Rif activist, was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 20,000 MAD (2,000 USD) for offending the King of Morocco.

Until September 2021, around 120 Moroccan citizens have been arrested due to their online activity, according to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).

“The known violations of many fundamental rights and freedoms in our country are neither circumstantial nor accidental, insofar as they result from a systematic political choice of the State which seeks neither neutrality nor hindsight,” Aziz said. Ghali, head of the AMDH, at a press conference in June.