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Hirak movement organises festival of solidarity for detainees

A demonstration is held outside the court house where Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi's trial is being held on 24 October 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

The Hirak movement’s activists and the movement’s detainees’ families in Morocco have called for a festival of solidarity in Rabat and for “the immediate release of all political prisoners without any conditions”. The initiative was organised by the national support committee of the Hirak movement along with the Lawyer’s Club in Rabat. “After various demonstrations we had held, including regular sit-ins, we wanted to show our solidarity with the detainees through art in all its forms,” Ahmed El Aouni, member of the secretariat of the national committee of support for Hirak detainees, told HuffPost Morocco.

Comedians, actors and singers are said to be performing at the festival today which has been described as an event “against forgetting” the detainees who have been locked up since May after protesting in the Rif region of the country over government failures.

“The Hirak is not a thing of the past, and its importance has not diminished over time, and the suffering of the detainees’ families is an eloquent proof of this,” El Aouni added.

Read: HRW calls for inquiry into torture of Hirak activists in Morocco

The families of the detainees, including the father of the leader of the movement Nasser Zefzafi, are expected to give accounts of their relatives’ imprisonment and call for support in releasing them.

“The Hirak is born of legitimate demands, Al-Hoceima’s failings have been recognised at the highest level of the state, the officials have been fired but they should have been accountable to justice,” said El Aouni said.

Al-Hoceima has been the centre of protests after a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck after his produce was confiscated by authorities.

Attorney for the Hirak detainee defence committee, Abdelkarim Elmoussaoui, has filed a new application with the hearing’s president at the Casablanca Court of Appeal to summon the imam of the mosque where Zefzafi was arrested after causing a fracas.

For lawyers, the story of what happened on that Friday could shed more light on justice. The preaching of this imam, who called on his congregation to mobilise against the demonstrations, was interrupted by Zefzafi who was subsequently arrested on orders of the Attorney General.

Read: Calls for release of detained hunger-striking Hirak members

Other officials were convened during the last hearing, which, according to Elmoussaoui, including Mohammed Drissi Alami Machichi the former minister of justice. “We would like him to give us details on the militarisation of the Rif area.”

Some Arabic-language media managers are also on the list of requests for convocations for their coverage on the Hirak.

The trial, postponed to 12 December, was also suspended for about an hour yesterday. Zefzafi was transferred to hospital where his health condition was assessed.” His medical diagnosis showed his health was normal.

“The doctor would have detected, however, dehydration and deficiencies, and this is due to the hunger strike he is observing with other detainees, which is why we asked a doctor to always accompany him during the trial,” the lawyer said.