Professor Maâti Monjib—the well-known Moroccan historian, journalist and human rights defender, and Arabic translator of Marxism and Freedom by Raya Dunayevskaya—has been held in prison in Rabat, Morocco since December 29 on trumped up charges. Deprived of justice, he is on the twelfth day of his open-ended hunger strike, despite his age (60) and poor health. Support committees have been organized in Morocco, France, the U.S. and elsewhere to pay his legal expenses. You can support him by contributing to the Free Maati Monjib campaign at https://association-justice-et-liberte-au-maroc.s2.yapla.com/fr/campaign—2651/donate/soutenez-la-liberation-de-maati-monjib/2651/#don-form-box.
On March 4 Monjib released this statement (English translation follows it):
Communiqué : Maâti Monjib en grève de la faim
J’entame une grève de la faim à compter du jeudi 4 mars 2021 à 16h00 pour exprimer un appel de détresse lancé à l’opinion publique suite à la persécution et l’injustice qui me sont infligées par le régime politique marocain.
J’observe cette grève de la faim pour protester contre :
1) Mon arrestation arbitraire le 29 décembre 2020, soit 24 heures avant la tenue dans le plus grand secret de l’audience dans le cadre du procès qui m’est intenté depuis 2015 pour « atteinte à la sécurité de l’État ». Audience à laquelle je n’étais pas convoqué. Ma défense, non plus, n’était pas informée. Ce procès a été reporté systématiquement jusqu’à mon arrestation et finit par me condamner par contumace. Cette arrestation arbitraire visait à me condamner dans mon absence pour que je ne puisse pas me défendre.
2) L’intervention illégale du Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciaire en déclarant son approbation du verdict prononcé contre moi par contumace et en influençant les juges sachant que mon dossier est toujours en cours devant la justice. Ceci constitue un précédent dans l’histoire de la justice marocaine.
3) La diffamation qui me frappe ainsi que ma famille de la part des médias officiels et ceux dépendant des services sécuritaires en violation flagrante de ma dignité et de la présomption d’innocence.
Je déclare à l’opinion publique nationale et internationale que je suis totalement innocent des accusations fallacieuses qui visent à saper ma crédibilité en tant que journaliste et écrivain d’opinion. La raison de toute cette persécution est à chercher dans mes écrits critiques à l’égard du régime et sa police politique et dans mes activités de défense des droits humains comme mon soutien aux détenus du mouvement Hirak du Rif et aux journalistes détenus injustement sous couvert de crimes de droit commun.
Prison Al Arjat 2, Salé le 04 mars 2021
I am going on a hunger strike effective Thursday, March 4, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. to express an appeal to public opinion following the persecution and injustice inflicted on me by the Moroccan political regime.
I am launching this hunger strike to protest against:
1) My arbitrary arrest on Dec. 29, 2020, 24 hours before a hearing was held in complete secrecy in the trial that has been proceeding against me since 2015 for “endangering state security”—a hearing to which I was not summoned. My defense lawyer, too, was not informed. This trial was systematically postponed until my arrest and ended up convicting me in absentia. This arbitrary arrest was intended to condemn me in my absence so that I could not defend myself.
2) The illegal intervention of the Superior Council of the Judiciary by declaring its approval of the verdict pronounced against me in absentia and by influencing the judges, knowing that my case is still pending before the courts. This is unprecedented in Moroccan justice.
3) Defamation of me and my family by the official media and those dependent on the security services in flagrant violation of my dignity and the presumption of innocence.
I declare to national and international public opinion that I am completely innocent of the spurious accusations that seek to undermine my credibility as a journalist and opinion writer. The reason for all this persecution can be found in my writings critical of the regime and its political police and in my human rights defense activities, such as my support for the detainees of the Hirak du Rif movement and the journalists unfairly detained under the guise of common law crimes.
Prison Al Arjat 2
Published on March 04, 2021
For more information on his case and a petition, visit his website: https://maatimonjib.net/?lang=en
More background from the Movement for Solidarity with Maati Monjib in America:
On Jan. 27, Moroccan historian, journalist, and human rights activist Maati Monjib was sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of 10,000 Dirhams. Monjib is the founder of the Ibn Rochd Center for Studies and Communication, a think tank he was forced to close in 2014, as well as co-founder of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism. Although the Moroccan regime has accused Monjib of fraud and threatening the safety of the state since 2015, he had neither a hearing nor a fair trial. In fact, Monjib has been in El Arjat 2 prison since Dec. 29, 2020, for additional accusations of money laundering because of the funding he lawfully received from international donors to fund the activities of the Ibn Rochd Center. The publication of his sentence on the official website coincided with his appearance in the prosecutor’s office on Jan. 27, 2021. Neither Monjib nor his lawyers had a chance to attend his sham “trial.” The sentence is baseless. It is a flagrant abuse of power destined to silence Dr. Monjib and remove him from the public sphere. Dr. Monjib’s persecution by the Moroccan regime is part of a familiar practice that reemerged in the country after a period of promising openness between 1999 and 2013. Ever since the end of the term of the first government formed after the 2011 revised Constitution, Moroccans have witnessed a rise in police brutality and the use of subtle mechanisms of repression through the justice system, to intimidate and silence journalists, human rights activists, and opposition figures. In this regard, the Moroccan security apparatus has exploited the autonomy of the Prosecutor’s Office, which used to be under the purview of the Minister of Justice, to prosecute, even by fabricating charges, all those who hold independent opinions vis-à-vis the regime’s iron grip on the country, and continued violation of Moroccan people’s rights. Moreover, the security regime, established under the leadership of Mohammed VI, has encouraged the mushrooming of a powerful yellow press that specializes in exposing opposition figures’ sexual lives. Videos of the supposedly extramarital affairs of these activists are used to threaten them and their families with scandal. Even more damaging is the fact that these videos could be used to force human rights activists to cooperate with the police. Since Dr. Monjib did not fall into this category, the police regime resorted to the fabricated charges of money laundering to “neutralize” him. The regime opened two court cases against Dr. Monjib—a strategy that the new version of Moroccan authoritarianism has been using to exhaust its opponents and keep them under the sword of a justice system that is entirely in thrall to the state. We, the members of the Movement for Solidarity with Maati Monjib in America, condemn the Moroccan regime’s dictatorial and unjust use of the justice system to silence its opponents. We firmly remind world public opinion that Morocco has returned to its notorious practices during the “Years of Lead,” which were the object of the detailed, official report of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission in 2006. We also would like to remind all those who defend human rights and dignity that Dr. Monjib suffers from a heart condition as well as diabetes—two chronic illnesses that require constant medical care. We hold the Moroccan regime responsible for any danger that may threaten Dr. Monjib’s life in jail.