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Morocco/Western Sahara
19.02.15
Urgent Interventions

Raid on the premises of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) and assault against a human rights activist

MOROCCO: Raid on the premises of the Moroccan Association of HumanRights (AMDH) and assault against a human rights activist

Paris – Geneva - Copenhagen, 19 February 2015 – The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT, alongwith the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the Euro-MedFederation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED), condemn the raid on thepremises of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (Association marocainedes droits humains – AMDH) and the assault against one of its members bythe Moroccan security forces.

During the evening of Sunday 15 February 2015,Moroccan security forces accompanied by about forty individuals in plainclothes armed with metal bars, broke into the premises of the AMDH which hadbeen surrounded by the security forces since the morning. During the raid, a member of the secretariat and of the association’sadministrative committee, Ms. Rabea Bouzidi, was physically and verballyassaulted. While attempting to wrest from her the keys of her apartment andthose of the premises of the association, four men fell her and maintained heron the ground where she could no longer breathe. She was then brought tohospital in worrying conditions. The security forces had already tried to enterthe premises earlier that day but had been prevented by the associationpresident, M. El Haij, who demanded that they produce a warrant.

This raid was due to the presence on the premises of the AMDH of twoFrench journalists, Jean Louis Perez and Pierre Chautard, of the Première LigneAgency, who had come to propose to the members of the association to interviewthem about the “20 February Movement”. The two journalists were in Morocco to workon a documentary on the Moroccan economy for France 3.

The authorities confiscated their material, including their cell phones,on the ground that they had not yet received an authorisation, despite arequest the journalists had submitted several weeks earlier.[1] On February 16, they were forced to leave Moroccowithout their material, including their reporting.

The Observatory, the EMHRN and the FEMED condemn the assault against Ms.Rabea Bouzidi and the raid on the premises of the AMDH, as they both constitutea serious obstacle to the exercise of freedom of association. Our organisationsare concerned about the acts of violence committed by the security forcesagainst human rights defenders and, more generally, deplore the increasingrestrictions on freedoms of information, association and assembly in Moroccoduring the last several months.[2]

Our organisations call on the Moroccan government to ensure the securityof both the members and the premises of all the human rights organisations andto guarantee in all circumstances the right to freedom of association of humanrights defenders, in particular those that the journalists may have met, inconformity with article 29 of the Moroccan Constitution, article 22 of theInternational Covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR) and article 5.b ofthe Declaration on human rights defenders adopted by the United Nations GeneralAssembly on 9 December 1998.

For further information, please contact:

· FIDH: ArthurManet / Audrey Couprie: presse@fidh.org / +33 1 43 55 25 18

· OMCT: MiguelMartin:+41 22 809 49 22

· EMHRN: Hayet Zeghiche : hze@euromedrights.net /+32 488 08 00 41

· FEMED: Nassera Dutour, secretariat.femed@disparitions-euromed.org, +33 7 60 21 06 22

[1] The journalists, who hadsubmitted an authorisation request to the authorities, believed however theywere operating legally, as they had not received any reply. They were preparingto follow up on their authorisation request on 16 February.

[2] See press statements of theObservatory dated 29 July 2014 and 7 October 2014, and of the EMHRN dated 2October 2014, as well as the openletter of the EMHRN to the Ministry of Interior Mohamed Hassad of 26November 2014 (French only) andthe open letter to the European Union dated 5 December2014 (French only).

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