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Morocco: Sentencing an activist to two years in prison for expressing his views is an unacceptable attack on freedom of opinion and speech

Stockholm - The international human rights foundation Skyline is deeply concerned by the decision of a Moroccan judicial authority to imprison activist "Yassin Benchekroun" for two years and to fine him 50,000 dirhams for his posts on social media. It stresses that such practices are a serious violation of international rules guaranteeing freedom of opinion and expression.

In a statement released today (Monday), Skyline states that the Court of First Instance in "Safi" sentenced the human rights activist, who was in pre-trial detention, on February 3 to two years in prison and a fine of 50,000 dirhams (about 4,500 euros) for "insulting organized institutions" due to his posts on social media.

Skyline points out that the Moroccan activist's conviction has led to rejection and denunciation. The "Moroccan National Authority for the Support of Prisoners of Conscience and Victims of Violations of Freedom of Opinion and Expression" and the "Local Committee in Casablanca for the Freedom of Omar Radi, Suleiman Raissouni and All Prisoners of Conscience and Freedom of Expression" have strongly condemned the arrest and prosecution of the activist "Yassin Benchekroun" and demanded that the charges against him be dropped.

Other activists saw this verdict as a new episode of intimidation of citizens, especially those in solidarity with the activists "Radi, Raissouni, Bouachrine, Al-Awaj, Alami, Basso and Benothman," the detainees of the Rif movement and all political prisoners in Morocco. They considered what happened to the activist Benchekroun is another chapter of revenge and reckoning with critics and violations of official guidelines.

In this regard, it should be noted that the Moroccan Committee to Protect Journalists recently sent a letter to the European Union asking it to increase pressure on Moroccan authorities to release detained journalists and end their arbitrary surveillance.

The human rights foundation Skyline believes that the circumstances of Benchekroun' arrest and trial are based on illegal political grounds, which is an unacceptable violation of the rights to freedom of expression recognized by international law, and. Such practices reflect the unjustified use of the Moroccan authorities to their influence and power in persecuting opposition figures and activists.

Skyline stresses that the repeated arrests of activists and dissidents by Moroccan authorities are contrary to the provisions of international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, " Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers."

Skyline International concludes its statement by calling on the judicial authorities to review the verdict against activist "Benchekroun" and give him the opportunity to fully defend himself and renews its call on the Moroccan government to cease all forms of prosecution and subpoenas against activists and opposition figures. It stresses that the role of the government