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Morocco to investigate leaked prison footage of Rif protesters

Rif protest in Rabat, Morocco on 12 June, 2017 [Twitter]
Rif protest in Rabat, Morocco on 12 June, 2017 [Twitter]

The Moroccan Public Prosecutor ordered an investigation to be opened after video footage released online showed Nasser Zefzafi, leader of the Hirak Rif who is currently in detention, while he was half-naked.

Hassan Matar, the king’s General Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Casablanca, announced yesterday: “Once Nasser Zefzafi’s video, which was filmed during his detention, had been identified, the Public Prosecution ordered a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances and the facts surrounding the filming of his video and the aim behind its publication.”

The statement was made amid the widespread criticism of politicians and human rights activists of the video leak.

In this context, Adel Ben Hamza, the spokesman of the opposition Istiqlal party said in a Facebook post that “the video itself is a torture and an insult to the leader of the movement and the viewers. It is a cheap incitement which proves that there is someone who is playing with fire, whether intentionally or not.”

Read: Video of detained Rif protest leader shows no torture marks

He also declared that “the human rights activist belonging to the government’s National Council for Human Rights (NHRI) and national as well as international human rights organisations could have been allowed to visit Zefzafi in prison to ensure that he was not tortured, but without hurting his dignity by filming him and publically publishing the video.”

He pointed out that “the publication of this footage is a blatant violation of the right to privacy of image, especially since Zefzafi is still under investigation and no judicial decision has been issued against him, either preliminary or final.”

Abdul Samad al-Idrisi, head of the Association of Lawyers of the Justice and Development Party and leader of the coalition government, stated that “the National Judicial Police Division and the General Commission for the Management of Prisons are responsible for the violation of the freedom and privacy of Zefzafi and for the publication of the ominous video.”

#Rif

Al-Idrisi described the video in a Facebook post as an “unprecedented scandal”.

The General Commission for the Management of Prisons denied that the footage was taken inside the prison.

“Zefzafi’s clothes in the video have never been worn inside the prison and the specifications of the place do not match any of the halls of the jail where Zefzafi was imprisoned.”

On Monday, a video was posted on social media networks showing Zefzafi half-naked, and activists affirmed that it was recorded in the prison.

Read: New uprisings expected in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco

Angry Egyptians set fire to a microbus after passengers allegedly held up four fingers, the symbol known as "Rabaa" in Cairo on December 24 2013 [Mohammed Bendari/Apaimages]

Angry Egyptians set fire to a microbus after passengers allegedly held up four fingers, the symbol known as “Rabaa” in Cairo on December 24 2013 [Mohammed Bendari/Apaimages]

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