The US ambassador to Morocco has been summoned as the country protests the US State Department’s annual report on human rights in the north African country.
The Moroccan government in a statement described the State Department’s report as “outrageous” and containing “inventions and lies” on the state of human rights in the country.
Morocco’s foreign ministry said it objected to the State Department’s description of the reasons for the arrests of three activists, citing “manipulation and factual errors” in the report.
Morocco Summons US Ambassador over US State Department Report on Human Rights https://t.co/LldXjRRt3n— Adnane (@BennisAdnane) May 18, 2016
One of the cases related to human rights and political activist Wafae Charaf.
According to the State Department 2015 report: “In August 2014 authorities sentenced Wafae Charaf, a human rights and political activist, to two years in prison and a fine of 50,000 dirhams ($5,025) for allegedly falsely reporting being abducted and tortured by unknown persons; she remained in prison at year’s end.”
But Morocco’s foreign ministry said Charaf was jailed for “false accusations, presentation of false evidence about an imaginary crime” and “insulting the judicial police”.
The 40-page State Department document cited a variety of human rights problems in Morocco including reports of detainees being tortured.
It said Moroccan authorities had breeched civil liberties by infringing on freedom of speech and press, including harassing and arresting print and internet journalists for reporting and commenting on issues sensitive to the government.
The US Embassy in a statement to Reuters said despite criticisms in the report, Washington still looked forward to continue(d) close cooperation with the Ministry of Interior on our shared security and human rights interest.
Morocco is an ally of the west in its war against Islamist insurgency.