Moroccan Historian and human rights defender Maati Monjib has been finally arrested Tuesday to be brought before the Public Prosecutor, in a case where he is suspected of “money laundering”.
Before the arrest, Maati Monji, had waged several hunger strikes since 2015 to denounce the several accusations leveled against him, which according him are “purely political” and intend to “weaken his position before national and international public opinion.”
In a letter sent on November 23, @pressfreedom joined 11 other rights groups in calling on Moroccan authorities to drop all charges against #MaatiMonjib, and immediately end the unlawful surveillance, intimidation, and harassment against him and his family https://t.co/QjqTMcnYsB
— CPJ MENA (@CPJMENA) December 29, 2020
Among the many challenges he faced was the travel ban issued against him to investigate “financial violations” in 2015. Last year, he went on a hunger strike after the Institute of African Studies, where he teaches history, threatened to fire him. And now, he is arrested for money laundering.
Prof. Maâti Monjib, who has been affiliated with several academic institutions in France, the USA and Senegal before going back to Morocco has been arrested today after 5 years of judicial harassment and online smear campaigns including by Moroccan diplomats (cf thread above).
— El Mahdi El Mhamdi – #26011 (@L_badikho) December 29, 2020
The Moroccan opponent will be brought before the king’s attorney general at the Rabat court of first instance, “who will decide whether he will be prosecuted under arrest or be granted bail, after his hearing.”
The Financial Information Processing Unit, affiliated to the Head of Government’s Office, published a list of large financial transfers and several real estate purchases. Their value did not match the declared revenue of Maati Monjib and his family members, prompting the opening of an official investigation in early October.
In a Facebook post, Monjib says he and his family have become the victims of “defamatory financial accusations.”
“I am innocent of all these defamatory accusations,” he wrote. “The purpose of these lawsuits is to punish me because of a recent statement on the radio in which I speak of the role of the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST, internal intelligence) in the repression of opponents and the management of political and media affairs in Morocco”.
As part of the trial, which was opened in 2015, Mr. Monjib is being prosecuted along with six other journalists and human rights activists.
Des policiers en civil ont procédé à l'arrestation de Maâti Monjib, aujourd'hui, à Rabat…le régime marocain fidèle à ses pratiques de répressions et arrestations arbitraires . Soutien e solidaire de Maati. pic.twitter.com/NNgNSyr1wz
— Azahoum boualam (@AzahoumBoualam) December 29, 2020
The Moroccan opponent has already received the support of several international human rights organizations that have called for the charges to be dropped.