Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Morocco: Collective Mamfakinche calls for a political amnesty

The minister for justice, the former activist Mustapha Ramid, presented the national report on the situation in Morocco on 22 May in Geneva as part of the Universal Periodic Examination on human rights. He was questioned on accusations that the country had seen repeated attacks on freedom of expression at several levels and the resurgence of police violence during demonstrations. The minister was called upon to reform the press code, abolish the death penalty and introduce legislation abolishing polygamy and the marriage of minors. In response, Ramid drew attention to Morocco's moratorium on the death penalty and promised a revised press code.

On the same day, the Mamfakinche collective launched the Free Koulchi (literally, Free Everybody) advocating a general amnesty for political prisoners in Morocco. Its website campaign notes that 13 years after Mohamed VI's accession and seven years after the Instance pour l'équité et la réconciliation (IER), the body which was supposed to have settled issues around human rights abuses in Morocco, the human rights situation was still fragile, with:

  • dissidents regularly put on trial for their opinions;
  • journalists jailed;
  • trials being rigged;
  • police violence a risk at demonstrations;
  • public media tools for state propaganda;
  • repressive anti-terrorist legislation in force.

The campaign page calls upon Prime Minister Benkirane and the Chamber of Representatives (Lower House of Parliament) to 'break with immobilism and present, debate and adopt a bill of amnesty for all those given sentences for political reasons, both during the period covered by the IER report (1956 to 2005) and since'. Among those listed on the page to be freed are rapper LaHaqed and the poet of the Mouvement du 20-Février, Younes Belkhdim, arrested on 30 March during a sit-in in support of LaHaqed, and sentenced to two years imprisonment on 18 May.

For more news and expert analysis about Morocco, please see Morocco Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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