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Arbitrary detention of human rights defender Ibrahim Mrikli

Status: 
Detained
About the situation

On 15 May 2020, human rights defender Ibrahim Mrikli was arbitrarily detained in El Ayoun by several Moroccan police officers dressed in plain clothes. He has been charged with ‘insulting public servants’, ‘stone throwing’ and ‘violating quarantine regulations’.

About Ibrahim Mrikli

Ibrahim Mrikli Ibrahim Mrikli is a human rights defender and a member of the Nushatta Foundation for Media and Human Rights, a Western Sahara-based NGO which has been working in the field of media activism and human rights advocacy since it was established in 2013. Ibrahim Mrikli works as a photographer with the Nushatta Foundation, documenting human rights violations committed by the Moroccan authorities in Western Sahara.

21 May 2020
Arbitrary detention of human rights defender Ibrahim Mrikli

On 15 May 2020, human rights defender Ibrahim Mrikli was arbitrarily detained in El Ayoun by several Moroccan police officers dressed in plain clothes. He has been charged with ‘insulting public servants’, ‘stone throwing’ and ‘violating quarantine regulations’.

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Ibrahim Mrikli is a human rights defender and a member of the Nushatta Foundation for Media and Human Rights, a Western Sahara-based NGO which has been working in the field of media activism and human rights advocacy since it was established in 2013. Ibrahim Mrikli works as a photographer with the Nushatta Foundation, documenting human rights violations committed by the Moroccan authorities in Western Sahara.

On 15 May 2020 at approximately 11pm, Ibrahim Mrikli was on his way to the local pharmacy when he was stopped and arrested by several Moroccan police officers dressed in plain clothes. He was then taken to the Security Station in El Ayoun, where he was held in solitary confinement until 9:00am the next morning. Ibrahim Mrikli was interrogated for two and a half hours, during which he was physically and verbally abused and expressly told by the interrogator that his lawyer was not allowed to be present during the interrogation. Ibrahim Mrikli’s phone was confiscated during the interrogation and inspected by the officers.

On 17 May 2020, Ibrahim Mrikli was charged with ‘insulting public servants’, ‘stone throwing’ and ‘violating the quarantine regulations’. These charges were based on alleged confessions given by Ibrahim Mrikli during the interrogation, however the human rights defender refutes the claim that he confessed to these crimes. Ibrahim Mrikli was released on a bail of 3000 Dirham (approximately 300 Euros) on the same day. The hearing is yet to be scheduled.

Ibrahim Mrikli has previously been harassed and subjected to arbitrary detention by the Moroccan authorities. In January 2019, he was detained for two months, and in July 2019, he was also sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. In both instances he was charged with ‘insulting public servants’ and ‘stone throwing’.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned regarding the arbitrary detention of Ibrahim Mrikli and the charges brought against him. Front Line Defenders believes that the arbitrary detention and charges are in direct reprisal for his peaceful and legitimate human rights work, documenting violations in Western Sahara.