Share on

Skyline International is deeply concerned and astonished by a Moroccan judicial authority's decision to keep the trial of dissident and leader of the Justice and Charity group "Mohamed Baasso" secret. It emphasizes that the judicial authority's decision is a serious and unacceptable violation of the principle of judicial transparency.

The decision of the judicial authorities is a serious and unacceptable violation of the principle of trial publicity and reflects the intention of the judicial authorities to conceal the truth and prevent the opponent from proving his innocence.

In a statement issued today, Wednesday, Skyline notes that the arrest case of opposition leader "Baaso" dates back to October 31, 2022, when the police detained him without a warrant; he wasn't initially informed of the reasons for the detention.

As Skyline inquired with Baaso's relatives, his family was informed that the reason for his arrest was included in the charge of "marital infidelity," whereupon the charge was changed to the offence of "human trafficking," the same charge that has been invented in the case of many journalists, most recently in the case of independent journalist "Tawfik Bouachrine." Thus, the political security authorities have recently used this type of trumped-up charges to discredit opponents and civil society activists.

In this regard, Skyline stresses that the decision of the judicial authorities to keep the trial of "Baso" secret is an attempt to hide the fact that this file is empty and does not contain any arguments or evidence that he carried out the charges against him. It is also an attempt to prevent him from proving his innocence in a public trial attended by his family, lawyers and others.

The human rights foundation ''Skyline'' believes that the circumstances surrounding the arrest and trial of the leader "Baasso" are based on political and illegal grounds, which is an unacceptable violation of international law's protection of freedom of expression. It observes that such practices reflect the Moroccan authorities' use of their influence and power in persecuting opponents and activists.

The organization also emphasizes that the right to a public trial is one of the most important rights enshrined in Morocco's Constitution, laws, and international treaties, and is one of the most important conditions for a fair trial.

Accordingly, Skyline stresses that the repeated arrests of activists and dissidents by Moroccan authorities are contrary to a number of international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, " Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

Skyline International concludes its statement by urging the judicial authorities to reconsider their decision to hold the trial of Justice and Charity Association Chairman Mohamed Baasso" in camera and allow him to present his defense in full. It reiterates that the Moroccan government should cease all forms of prosecution and subpoenas against activists and opposition figures, and stresses that the government's role must be to create an appropriate environment in which individuals can express their views.