jeudi 28 juin 2007
RABAT -- A Moroccan court Tuesday handed a one-year jail sentence to a 72-year-old human rights activist for supporting prisoners jailed for attacking religious values in the Islamic kingdom. The jailing of Mohamed Bougrine, an activist with the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), was condemned by the association as a "narrowing of the freedom of expression in Morocco." Three other members of the AMDH were handed suspended sentences of two months and fined 500 dirhams ($60), while six others facing the same charges were acquitted. The 10 activists June 5 and 6 took part in a demonstration in support of seven detainees recently sentenced to prison for "attacking religious values" during May Day rallies. His lawyer, Mohamed Sebbar, said: "The verdict is a serious one because [my] client, Mohamed Bougrine, has been sentenced for his opinions." He underlined that Bougrine had spent more than 15 years in prison when Morocco was a French protectorate and during the reign of King Hassan II between 1961 and 1999. The AMDH meanwhile said that it would take legal action over the violent dispersal of a peaceful protest held June 15 in Rabat in support of the seven imprisoned human rights activists. "The AMDH will lodge a lawsuit against the Auxiliary Forces in the person of their inspector general," the group's president Khadija Riadi told reporters in Rabat. Amnesty International has also called upon Morocco to immediately free the seven activists, who were jailed for two to three years for having criticized King Mohammed VI. The London-based human rights group said that it considered the seven - arrested after they took part in May Day rallies in Agadir and Ksar El Kebir - to be prisoners of conscience. Amnesty said that "slogans which made critical references to the monarchy in the country, such as for instance 'no more taboos, more freedom,' were chanted in a peaceful manner" at the May Day rallies.