Moroccan human rights activists on Thursday welcomed a resolution by the European parliament critical of Morocco's human rights record.
Last week, a resulotion urging Rabat to respect the freedom of expression was overwhelmingly adopted by the EU parliament.
It focused in particular on the case of Omar Radi, a freelance journalist critical of the government who was jailed for rape and espionage.
"The required response (to the resolution) is to recognize the failure of repressive policies against critical opinions," pleaded Khadija Ryadi, a human rights activist, at a press conference organized in Rabat by the National Instance for the Support of Prisoners of Conscience (INASDO).
The MEPs focused in particular on the case of Omar Radi. The 36-year-old freelance journalist, known for his criticism of the government, was arrested in 2020 and sentenced in March to six years in prison for "rape" and "espionage", charges he has always denied.
Several other independent journalists and opponents--including former media boss Taoufik Bouachrine, columnist Soulaimane Raissouni, and former lawyer Mohamed Ziane--have been convicted and imprisoned in recent years on sex-related charges.
According to Ryadi, the European Parliament's vote enshrines "the failure of the repressive strategy of fabricating sexual charges against journalists and critics.
"We are aware that the release of prisoners of conscience will not happen thanks to the European Parliament but thanks to the activism of the human rights movement in Morocco. But this kind of resolution gives us strength and makes our voice heard abroad," she said.
"This resolution is an important decision, given the regression that we suffer in terms of human rights in Morocco," said Khouloud Moukhtari, wife of Soulaimane Raissouni, at the same press conference.
INASDO reiterated Thursday its call for the "immediate release of all prisoners of conscience.
Its positions contrast with the almost unanimous discourse of the Moroccan political class and local media, which have been fulminating for a week against the European Parliament, accused of "unacceptable interference" in Moroccan affairs.
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