8 April 2014

Morocco: ANHRI Demands the Release "20 February" Movement Detainees, Arrested During a March in Casablanca

press release

Cairo: — The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, denounced the arrest of a number of "February 20" Movement members, by Moroccan security forces, during their participation in a workers' march in Casablanca.

Moroccan security forces, on April 6, attacked a workers' march, which the Moroccan Workers' Union (UMT), Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT) and Democratic Federation of Labor (FDT) called for to protest against the government's economic policies. Also, A number of unions have taken part in this march. The security forces solely targeted members of "February 20" Movement, who were participating in the march. The forces assaulted the movement's wing in the march and violently beat them. Moreover, eight members had been arrested, they are: Amin Lekebia, Hamza Hodi, Ayoub Boudad, Yousef Helal, Hakim Suroukh, Haraq Mohamed, Fouad Al-Baz and A'aras Mustafa. Their lawyers were prevented from communicating with them. The eight arrested members were referred yesterday, April 7, to the Attorney General of the King at Court of First Instance in Aïn Sebaâ. And their referral to the Prosecutor General is scheduled for today, Tuesday April 8. On the other hand, many participants in this peaceably march had been left wounded, February 20 Movement members in particular.

"February 20 Movement" was established in Morocco in 2011, coincidently with the outbreak of revolutions in Arab countries; calling for political and constitutional reforms. Nonetheless, Moroccan authorities still undermine it through abuses and prosecution.

"Moroccan authorities try to suppress voices of dissent by excessive force and arbitrary arrest, instead of making economic reforms that could improve the workers' states. They also perpetuate their target of "February 20" Movement activists in particular, fearing that the influence spreads, which is regarded as a clear violation of freedom of expression," ANHRI said.

ANHRI added that the arrest of 8 members of "February 20" Movement is a perpetuation of a systematic campaign launched by Moroccan authorities against them. It is an attempt to distort their image in front of Moroccan public opinion. In addition to their arrests, they are prosecuted by trumped-up accusations in order to silence their mouths.

ANHRI calls on Moroccan authorities to release the detained activists and discontinue the security abuse against activists and protesters. Also, it urges them to respect freedom of expression and to suspend the violent dispersal of protests, as such procedures reflect their complete to make economic and social changes;

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