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3 June 2015

Ongoing intimidation of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights

On 29 May 2015, the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (Association Marocaine des Droits Humains – AMDH) received an official letter of warning from the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, threatening legal action if the group continues to host events in support of press freedom.

AMDH works to promote human rights through education and awareness-raising, monitors human rights violations in Morocco and provides support for victims.

The group also hosts events for the Moroccan rights group Freedom Now - the Committee for the protection of press freedom and freedom of expression in Morocco (Comité de protection de la liberté de la presse et d'expression au Maroc) - whose registration was denied in May 2014.

AMDH and its members have faced persistent intimidation and harassment over the past year.

Between 12 July and 30 September 2014, the Moroccan authorities imposed at least 17 arbitrary prohibitions on various events organised by AMDH. In addition, the authorities reportedly banned a press conference by Freedom Now that was scheduled to take place on 15 February 2014 in the headquarters of the AMDH. Additionally, two members of AMDH, Wafae Charaf in Tangier and Oussama Housne in Casablanca, remain in prison after being sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment and a 6,000 USD fine, and 3 years' imprisonment and a 12,000 USD fine respectively, for 'falsely reporting torture' and 'slandering Morocco's police forces'.

As recently as 15 February 2015, more than 40 plain-clothes officers
raided the AMDH headquarters, assaulted a staff member, and arrested two French journalists who were preparing to conduct an interview with AMDH leaders.

The crackdown on AMDH is part of an escalating campaign to silence both free press and human rights defenders at large in Morocco. Front Line Defenders calls upon Moroccan authorities to stop all acts of intimidation against AMDH and its members. It also urges the authorities to respect the right of human rights defenders to associate, and to approve the registration of Freedom Now.