9 August, 2017

Morocco: The first “Rif protest” victim fell.. Bring killers of Emad Al-Otaibi to justice

Cairo: 9 August, 2017

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) bore Moroccan authorities the responsibility for the killing of activist Emad Al-Otaibi, who died yesterday from his injuries after he had participated in a peaceful march, on 20 July, which was called by “Hirak” Movement’s activists demanding the release of detainees and meeting the necessary economic and social rights of the Rif’s residents. The protest was subject to an attack by security forces.

ANHRI said, “The use of violence by security forces against peaceful protesters and protest marches constitutes nothing but a systematic approach adopted by the authorities in Morocco. On the 20th of last June, the security forces forcibly banned a peaceful protest, staged in front of the parliament’s headquarters in Rabat. The protest was called by “February 20” movement to stand in solidarity with the Moroccan Rif detainees and express rejection of the mass arrests carried out by the state against the peaceful movement. Also, last year, the police violently broke up many peaceful protests organized by apprentice teachers in several cities, as they with assaulted protesters using batons and shields, leaving more than 150 wounded.

In a statement issued on the 9th of August, the attorney general of the King at Al-Hoceima’s Court of Appeal announced the death of activist Emad Al-Otaibi yesterday morning at the Military Hospital, to where he was transferred to receive treatment after being injured to his head.

The Bureau of Investigations said, “Investigations are still underway under the supervision of the Public Prosecutor’s office, and will be reaching to their fullest extent. Once they came to an end, the necessary legal measures will be carried out, and public opinion will be informed with the results we came up with.”

Morocco’s Rif cities have been witnessing an upsurge in human rights violations in relation to the ongoing protests erupted since the since the death of the fish vendor Mohsen Fikry, who was crushed into a garbage truck upon orders by police personnel in late October 2016, protests that expressed themselves in a campaign went viral on social networking entitled # Tahn_mo (in reference to the grinding of Mohsen Fikry).

Since its eruption, the demands of the so-called Rif protests are represented in bringing those responsible for the killing of Mohsen Fikry to account, on top of them the King’s representative who ordered to destroy the fish vendor’s produce, along with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, who is responsible for the chaos and corruption prevalent in the region. The demands, later, developed to include social issues (such as establishing health and university institutions and providing job opportunities), in addition to other political demands, including lifting the “Rif’s militarization” through the canceling of previous decisions leaving Al Hoceima region a military zone, as well as reducing the permanent security barriers deployed over all roads and rural areas, and halting the recruitment of security crowds to the military barracks in the region during each protest.

Rif protests also call for holding the real perpetrators, implicated in the killing of the Leftist activist Kamal al-Hassani accountable. Al-Hassani, from Al Hoceima, was killed in October 2011 by an unknown person, who is likely to have connection with the authorities in retaliation for his leadership role in February 2011 Movement. This is in addition to the murdering of five young men who were burned after being tortured in a police station in 2011.

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