‘Free Koulchi’ Manifesto Calls for End to ‘Political Detention’ in Morocco

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Rabat – A group of Moroccan activists, called “Free Koulchi” (Free everyone) has published a manifesto denouncing politically motivated arrests that infringe freedom of speech.

The publication, available on social networks, went online on January 11, the day when Morocco commemorates the presentation of the Manifesto of Independence.

While the Manifesto of Independence, written in 1944 and signed by 67 activists, demanded the end of the French protectorate, the 2020 manifesto calls for a “Morocco without political detentions nor prisoners of conscience.”

“Faced with social tension and political deadlock in Morocco, the State has used a firm security approach that was not only limited to activists of social protest movements, but also concerned citizens who have only expressed their opinions on social networks and have been the subjects of arrests, legal proceedings, and search warrants,” reads the introduction of the text, published on FreeKoulchi’s Facebook page.

“2020: A Morocco Without Political Detention and Prisoners of Conscience.” Credit: FreeKoulchi / Facebook

The arrests reflect a strategy to “scare” citizens, according to the authors of the manifesto.

Between December 2018 and January 2020, the police arrested several people and then prosecuted or sentenced them on charges of contempt against constitutional bodies, including the King and civil servants.

The manifesto alludes to several imprisoned Moroccans, including the YouTuber Moul Kaskita, sentenced to four years in prison, the rapper Hamza, known as “Stalin,” also sentenced to four years, and the journalist Omar Radi, who faces prosecution for a tweet criticizing a judge.

“The signatories of the manifesto refuse these prosecutions and consider that they constitute a serious attack on freedoms and human rights,” explained the document.

The manifesto also called for the establishment of “a national human rights mechanism to coordinate between the various support initiatives and committees” launched recently.

The objective of the document is to “push for reform of the criminal code as well as the press code, in accordance with international conventions and texts.”

‘Free Koulchi’ Manifesto Calls for End to ‘Political Detention’ MoroccoList of signatories. Credit: FreeKoulchi / Facebook

The manifesto collected more than 800 signatures in the first 48 hours after its publishing.

The list of signatories included several prominent figures in Morocco’s activist and political scene, such as Nasser Zefzafi, one of the leaders of the Hirak Rif movement, Nabila Mounib, the General Secretary of the United Socialist Party (PSU), Omar Balafrej, deputy of the Federation of Democratic Left (FGD), Khadija Ryadi, member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), and Maati Monjib, a Moroccan historian.

Source: moroccoworldnews.com