Summary: Protest outrageous one-year prison sentence for Moroccan historian, journalist, and human rights activist Maati Monjib, who is the translator of Dunayevskaya’s Marxism and Freedom and other Marxist works into Arabic — Editors
On January 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 December 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 in the official website mahkama.ma coincided with his appearance in the prosecutor’s office on January 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 King 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 enthralled 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.