GENEVA – The Observatory for the Protection of human rights defenders strongly condemned Saturday the arbitrary detention and violence against Sahrawi journalist Nazha El Khalidi by the Moroccan police, calling on the authorities of the Kingdom to "guarantee in all circumstances the right to conduct peaceful activities and legitimate defense of human rights. "
In an "urgent" appeal to the Moroccan authorities, the Observatory, a partnership between the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has strongly denounced "the arbitrary detention" by the Moroccan police of Nazha El Khalidi, journalist and member of the Saharawi collective Equipe Media, which took place on December 4th in Laayoune occupied, while filming police violence against the participants in a demonstration of support to the Saharawi cause
The Saharawi journalist, a correspondent of the "RASD TV", was taken to the Moroccan police station and detained for four hours before being released without any charge against her. the Observatory in its document, the object of which is the denunciation of "arbitrary detention and obstruction of the freedom of peaceful assembly and information".
Relying on reliable local sources of information, the NGO added that "Ms. El Khalidi was attacked by Moroccan police during her arrest and suffered further violence on her way to the city. Commissariat ", stating that" this is not the first time that the Saharawi journalist is detained by the Moroccan police for filming a demonstration. "
"On August 21, 2016, Ms. Nazha El Khalidi was detained for one night at the police station, where she was allegedly ill-treated and interrogated as part of her protest coverage.The police seized her camera and did not tell her about it. has never returned, "said the NGO while recalling that other members of the Media Team were also harassed by the Moroccan police.
In this regard, the Observatory cited the "break and enter", on November 12, 2018, Moroccan soldiers in the house of Mohamed Mayara, member of Equipe Media and who had questioned his family. Against these practices, the Observatory condemned the arbitrary detention and violence of the Moroccan police authorities against Nazha El Khalidi and Saharawi journalists, stressing that these actions are only intended to "sanction the activities of defense human rights "in the occupied Saharawi territories.
To this end, the Observatory asked the Moroccan authorities, in particular those of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Human Rights Protection, to "guarantee in all circumstances the right to conduct peaceful and legitimate activities. human rights "and to put an end to" all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level "against the members of the collective Equipe Media.
The NGO also called on the Moroccan authorities to comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1998, as well as the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and regional and international instruments on human rights ratified by Morocco.