Urgent Action notice of Amnesty International for Members of AMDH, a Member of HIC and HLRN

Public AI Index: MDE 29/003/2008
18 January 2008

UA 16/08 Fear of unfair imprisonment/ Prisoners of conscience


  • Mohamed Boughrine (m), aged 72, prisoner of conscience ]


  • Abdelkbir Rabaoui (m)
  • Abass Abbassi (m)
  • Mohamed Fadel (m)
  • Abdelaziz Timor (m)
  • Brahim Ahansal (m)
  • Sman Amrar (m)
  • Abderrahmane Aaji (m)
  • Mohamed Yousfi (m)
  • Nabil Cherqui (m)

All members of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (Association
Marocaine des Droits Humains, AMDH)

On 30 January, the Moroccan Court of Cassation is due to hand down its
judgement on the case of the 10 men named above, who are all members of the
Moroccan Association for Human Rights (Association Marocaine des Droits
Humains, AMDH). They were convicted in August 2007 of undermining the
monarchy by a court of appeal. Should the Court of Cassation confirm the
conviction, prisoner of conscience Mohamed Boughrine, in jail since his
arrest on 5 June 2007, risks serving a three-year prison sentence simply for
having expressed his views peacefully. The nine other men, who remain at
liberty pending the final judgement, would also face imprisonment. Amnesty
International would consider them to be prisoners of conscience, held solely
for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

The 10 were arrested on 5 and 6 June 2007, after participating in a peaceful
sit-in in the city of Beni Mellal, held in solidarity with seven other
members of the AMDH arrested after demonstrations on 1 May 2007.During the
sit-in, participants chanted slogans critical of the monarchy, such as no
more taboos, more freedom. The monarchy remains a taboo subject in Morocco.
In recent years, several people, including journalists and political
activists, have been prosecuted and in some cases sentenced to prison terms,
after peacefully expressing critical views on the monarchy.

On 26 June, a court sentenced Mohamed Boughrine to one year imprisonment on
charges of undermining the monarchy. Three others were sentenced to
two-month suspended prison terms, and the remaining six men were acquitted.
However, following an appeal by the prosecution, Mohamed Boughrines
sentence was increased to three years’ imprisonment, and the nine others
were given a one-year prison sentence.

Mohamed Boughrine has already spent long periods of time in detention in
relation to his political activism. He has complained of respiratory
problems exacerbated by poor prison conditions. Although his family visits
him once a week, he is not permitted visits from friends and colleagues from
the AMDH.


Seven other members of the AMDH were earlier arrested and convicted of
undermining the monarchy after participating in peaceful demonstrations on
1 May 2007, marking International Workers Day. Thami Khyati, Youssef
Reggab, Oussama Ben Messaoud, Ahmed Al Kaateb and Rabii Rassouni, who were
arrested in the city of Ksar el Kebir, were sentenced to three years
imprisonment and heavy fines. On 24 July, a court of appeal confirmed the
convictions and increased their prison sentences from three to four years.

Two other AMDH members, Mehdi Berbouchi and Abderrahim Karrad, were arrested
in the city of Agadir and sentenced to two years imprisonment and heavy
fines, also for undermining the monarchy. The judgment and sentences
against the two were confirmed on appeal. Amnesty International adopted the
seven men as prisoners of conscience.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
Arabic, French or your own language:

– expressing concern that ten members of the AMDH are likely to face
imprisonment solely for peacefully expressing their views, should the
Moroccan Court of Cassation confirm an earlier conviction against the men
for undermining the monarchy;

– calling on the Moroccan authorities to quash all prison sentences and
fines against the 17 AMDH members convicted of undermining the monarchy,
as they have been convicted solely for having exercised their fundamental
rights to free expression and assembly;

– calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately and unconditionally
release the eight AMDH prisoners of conscience currently in jail;

Appeals to:

Mr Abdelwahed Radi
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Place Mamounia
Rabat, Morocco
Fax: +212 37 73 07 72/ +212 37 72 37 10

Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/ Your Excellency

Mr Taieb Fassi Fihri
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt
Rabat, Morocco
Fax: +212 37 76 46 79/ +212 37 76 55 08
Email: mail@maec.gov.ma

Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/ Your Excellency


Mr Ahmed Herzenni
Human Rights Advisory Council (Conseil consultatif des droits de lHomme)
Place Achouhada- BP 1341
10 001 Rabat, Morocco
Fax : +212 37 72 68 56
E-mail : ccdh@ccdh.org.ma and to diplomatic representatives of Morocco accredited to your country.