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Appeal hearing for Maâti Monjib scheduled

Status: 
SENTENCED TO PRISON
About the situation

On 8 April 2021, the appeal hearing for human rights defender Maâti Monjib is scheduled to be held before Casablanca's Appeal Court. Maâti Monjib has been convicted of 'threatening the internal security of the State' and 'fraud'. The charges were initially brought against Maâti Monjib and other human rights defenders in 2015.

On 4 March 2021, human rights defender Maâti Monjib began an open-ended hunger strike to protest his detention, his conviction on charges of threatening the internal security of the State, and the irregularities in the judicial proceedings against him. He is currently detained in El Arjat 2 prison in the city of Salé near Rabat.

On 27 January 2021, the Court of First Instance in Rabat convicted human rights defender Maâti Monjib of "threatening the internal security of the State"' and sentenced him to one year imprisonment. The hearing session was held in absentia; neither the human rights defender nor his lawyers were permitted to attend.

On 30 December, the Investigative Judge at Rabat First Instance Court ordered the preventive detention of human rights defender Maâti Monjib on the charge of “money laundering” and scheduled his next investigation session to be held on 20 January.

About Maâti Monjib

Maati MonjibMaâti Monjib is the President of Freedom Now, an association that works to defend freedom of expression and journalism in Morocco. He is also a co-founder and a member of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism (MAIJ), an association that works on exposing corruption issues in the country.

7 April 2021
Appeal hearing for Maâti Monjib scheduled

On 8 April 2021, the appeal hearing for human rights defender Maâti Monjib is scheduled to be held before Casablanca's Appeal Court. Maâti Monjib has been convicted of 'threatening the internal security of the State' and 'fraud'. The charges were initially brought against Maâti Monjib and other human rights defenders in 2015.

Maâti Monjib is the President of Freedom Now, an association that works to defend freedom of expression and the rights of journalists in Morocco. He is also a co-founder and a member of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism (MAIJ), an association that works on exposing corruption issues in the country.

On 23 March 2021, the Court of First Instance in Rabat ordered the conditional release of Maâti Monjib. Following the Court's decision, Maâti Monjib ended a hunger strike, which he had begun on 4 March 2021, to protest his detention, the irregularities in the judicial proceedings against him, and the continual harassment of his family. The human rights defender was convicted by the Court of First Instance in Rabat on 27 January 2021, on charges of ‘threatening the internal security of the State’ and sentenced him to one year imprisonment. The hearing session was held in absentia, with neither the human rights defender or his lawyers permitted to attend.

On 29 December 2020, Maâti Monjib was detained from a restaurant in Rabat by plainclothes security officers who arrived at the restaurant in two police vehicles minutes after the human rights defender had arrived. The human rights defender was detained in El Arjat 2 prison in the city of Salé near Rabat, until his release in March 2021.

The charges of 'threatening the internal security of the State' and 'fraud' against Maâti Monjib will be reviewed by the Casablanca Appeal Court on 8 April 2021. If the conviction is upheld, the human rights defender may be sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment.

The human rights defender is also facing the separate charge of ‘money laundering’, levied against him in October 2020. On 5 March 2021, the judge presiding over the investigation informed Maâti Monjib that the investigation regarding the money laundering charge had closed, however following his release, the human rights defender was informed that the investigation had been re-opened.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the continued harassment of human rights defender Maâti Monjib and believes that he is being targeted solely regarding his peaceful and legitimate human rights work. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Morocco to quash the conviction of Maâti Monjib and cease any further harassment against the human rights defender and his family.

4 March 2021
Human rights defender Maâti Monjib on hunger strike

On 4 March 2021, human rights defender Maâti Monjib began an open-ended hunger strike to protest his detention, his conviction on charges of threatening the internal security of the State, and the irregularities in the judicial proceedings against him. He is currently detained in El Arjat 2 prison in the city of Salé near Rabat.

Maâti Monjib is the President of Freedom Now, an association that works to defend freedom of expression and journalism in Morocco. He is also a co-founder and a member of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism (MAIJ), an association that works on exposing corruption in the country.

On 4 March 2021, Maâti Monjib began an open-ended hunger strike to protest his arbitrary arrest on 29 December 2020, the hearing that was held on the 27 January 2021 without his presence or the presence of his lawyer, the defamation campaigns he and his family have been the targets of, and a recent money laundering accusation against him. Maâti Monjib’s decision to go on hunger strike was also in response to the announcement by the Supreme Judicial Council on 1 February 2021 of its support for the ruling of the Court of First Instance in his case, which convicted the human rights defender despite the various irregularities.

The Court of First Instance in Rabat convicted Maâti Monjib of "threatening the internal security of the State"' and sentenced him to one year imprisonment on 27 January 2021. The hearing for the charges, initially brought against him and other human rights defenders in 2015, was held in absentia, with neither Maâti Monjib nor his lawyers permitted to attend. According to his lawyers, Maâti Monjib has been deprived of his basic civil rights, as they were not granted access to the investigation file for the most recent money laundering charges against their client, nor were they notified of the date of the hearing in January for the 2015 charges.

Since October 2020, Maâti Monjib has been repeatedly summoned for questioning by the National Judicial Police Brigade in Casablanca. On 7 October 2020, the Public Prosecutor announced that he was under investigation for money laundering, an accusation which Maâti Monjib believes is in retaliation for his criticism of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance. The human rights defender has accused the Directorate of carrying out illegal surveillance on civil society and opposition politicians. In the days following the Public Prosecutor’s announcement, several of Maâti Monjib’s family members were summoned to a police station in Casablanca where they were interrogated, despite the fact that they live almost 90 kilometres away in Rabat.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned regarding the conviction and detention of human rights defender Maâti Monjib, which it believes to be in response to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights and exposing corruption. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Morocco to quash the conviction of Maâti Monjib and immediately and unconditionally release him.

5 January 2021
Preventative Detention of Human Rights Defender Maâti Monjib

On 30 December, the Investigative Judge at Rabat First Instance Court ordered the preventive detention of human rights defender Maâti Monjib on the charge of “money laundering” and scheduled his next investigation session to be held on 20 January.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Maâti Monjib is the President of Freedom Now, an association that works to defend freedom of expression and journalism in Morocco. He is also a co-founder and a member of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism (MAIJ), an association that works on exposing corruption issues in the country.

Maâti Monjib was arrested on 29 December 2020 at noon at a restaurant on Al Alawiyyin street in the neighborhood of Hassan in Rabat by plainclothes security forces who arrived at the restuarant in two police vehicles minutes after the arrival of the human rights defender. Maâti Monjib was brought before the Public Prosecutor at the Court of First Instance in Rabat where he was charged of ‘carrying out money laundering’. The human rights defender was then referred to the Investigative Judge who ordered his preventive detention and scheduled his next investigation session to be held on 20 January. Maâti Monjib is currently detained in a solitary confinement in El Arjat 2 prison in the city of Salé near Rabat.

Over the past few months, Maâti Monjib has been repeatedly summoned for questioning by the National Judicial Police Brigade in Casablanca. On 7 October 2020, the Public Prosecutor announced that the human rights defender is under investigation for money laundering. Maâti Monjib believes that the accusation is in retaliation for his criticism of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance, who he has accused of carrying out illegal surveillance on civil society and opposition politicians. In the days after the Public Prosecutor’s announcement, several of Maâti Monjib’s family members were summoned to and interrogated at a police station in Casablanca, despite the fact that they live almost 90 kilometres away, in Rabat. During the questioning, they were not informed of the reasons for their summoning, and were asked to provide details about Maâti Monjib’s human rights work. On 12 October 2020, Maâti Monjib began a hunger strike in protest against the allegations and the harassment of his family members. He ended the hunger strike on 15 October 2020.

Maâti Monjib has been frequently harassed for his peaceful human rights work. On 21 October 2020, the human rights defender was due to attend the latest hearing session at the Court of First Instance in Rabat, in relation to another case opened against him and other human rights defenders for “threatening the internal security of the State” in 2015. The session did not take place after the courthouse informed the defender’s lawyer that two of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequent hearing sessions related to the case have been repeatedly delayed and rescheduled. In August 2015, a travel ban was imposed on Maâti Monjib, which was lifted on 29 October 2015, after he had spent 24 days on hunger strike. The human rights defender is frequently the subject of defamation campaigns, led by the pro-government media outlets, such as Annahar al-Maghribia and AlAhdath al-Maghribia, which accuse him of inciting violence and embezzling civil society funds.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the detention and the judicial harassment of human rights defender Maâti Monjib as it believes he is being targeted in an effort to inhibit his work in defence of human rights, freedom of expression, and exposing corruption.