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An open letter from the International and Arab Human Rights Organization Concerning the Case of


 Hassan El Rachidi et Brahim Sbaâ Ellil


Freedoms Judiciary not Instructions’


Dear Mr. Counselor the Head of the Primary Court-Rabat


Right and Law Salute

The undersigned Arab organizations had demanded ending the legal prosecution against the human rights defender Brahim Sbaâ Ellil

 and the director of Aljazeera office in Morocco, Hassan El Rachidi, but when their opinion was unconsidered, although it was agreed upon by the Human Rights NGOs and  the concerned prominent lawyers and journalists in Morocco, a number of Arab organizations called on for delegation of a joint international judiciary monitoring commission to attend the court sessions.

The judiciary monitors put on our disposal  important information which draws the attention to the normal proceeding of a normal judiciary misdemeanor, they have provided the following notes about the session was held on 1/7/2008:

1- The absence of the defendant Brahim Sbaâ Ellil in this session, because of his detention in Sala central prison.

2- The persistence of the court to schedule a second session in next to no time, although some lawyers had to travel for a syndic commitment, leave, or professional reasons.

3- Scheduling the second session to be held 72 hours after, despite the lawyers’ rejection of the hurried appointment which is unlikely to be– comparing with similar cases- as an acceptable and appropriate time to prepare the defense.

Despite the incompleteness of the files and the offense related parliamentary investigations, and undergo facts-finding non- governmental committees, it becomes clear to the monitor that there is a persistence to pre-empt the legal evidence about the truth of the

In the second session on Friday 4/7/2008 the monitors noticed the followings:

1- The judge refused to call or listen to any witness or party who may testify about the events, and clarify important case facts that related to deaths, assaults and rapes especially.

2- He has rejected in to the defense proposals to come across the truth of the black Saturday events, and verify the inaccuracy of the news was published by media outlets else than Aljazeera channel, which was followed by pursuance and detention.

3- Doggedness in dealing with the case in an exceptional unjust way, and ignoring the time factor, and incompleteness file elements, as well as denying the defenders’ access to the CD possessed by the judge.

4- Illegitimacy of the prosecuting the director of Aljazeera regional office due to lack of his responsibility for publicity of the news, which the prosecution general could not establish, thus the lack of competence of the primary court in Rabat to run the current trial.

5- the haphazard separation in the case of Brahim Sbaâ Ellil and circumvention the law in prosecuting him for two separate offenses, while the act was single, and does not allow  prosecuting the defendant more than one time. Then enforced to appear in the court for the second session, the security disallowed his exit from the court hall, despite the judge permission to leave, and was returned to detention.

The representative of the Moroccan Center for Human  Rights, left the court 4 hours later to the prison, the lawyers withdrew after 10 hours of advocacy, the verdict was rescheduled to Friday morning 11/7/2008.

 Mr. President

We are writing you before the session, because we are keen about the independence of the judiciary in Morocco and the need not to drag it into issues related to the executive power and security practice, especially when considering the harsh sentences been handed in the most recent two years- to journals and journalists in Morocco in similar cases.

We, as rights organization, had watched concernedly the changes developed in Morocco, and the achievements accomplished by the civil society, judiciary and the press, in a time in which we wished the update of the press and publicity law, and the measurements of the penal procedures, in such time, we found ourselves vis-à-vis with the terrorism fighting law, that constrains the freedoms and the fundamental rights. Where the law amendments were postponed, and harsh financial sentences were handed down, as in the case of “Al Massa” newspaper, which come up with sentences those ban the publicity of rights information, as what happened with the “First Newspaper”. Further to this, handing down sentences to ban the journalist acts, as what happened with the journalist Ali Al Murabit, ending with the decree of Aljazeera office director approval withdrawal, following to the decision of the stoppage of Aljazeera Maghrebia news program.

As we consider the involvement of the judiciary as a part in the tragedy of Sidi Ifni, before the whole facts of the events was elucidated, conforms a serious case and negative impact in the regard of the victims approach the same judiciary institution to account the responsible bodies for what happened, what induces direct damage to the conduct of the different investigation committees. We demand to stop dealing in exceptional and especial manner with an unexceptional misdemeanor.

 Mr. President of the First Primary Court, We do also stress on the necessity to foresee the results of taking a swift decision, and the possibilities of utilization of such a decision in intimidating whoever tries to find the facts and truths in Sidi Ifni’s events, as well as the endurance of the restrictions on the press freedoms in Morocco the Moroccan Press and its conditions was a model in this arena.

We call on you, Mr. the President of the Court, to postpone the sentence until the file elements are complete, and the fact-finding and investigation in Sidi Ifni’s case are concluded. Also so that the judiciary does not involve as a part in a sensitive case related to very serious violation of human rights, since the Arab world and Morocco currently are in a dire need for freedoms judges not instructions ones. We wish your acceptance to this request, enthusiastic for the Moroccan judiciary independence and its role as a safety valve in the relationship between the state and society.

As we also request to add to the case documents this letter, which will be delivered to you by an international monitor commissioned by our organizations in the session of Friday.

And please -your Excellency- accept our considerate regards, appreciation and best wishes.


Paris, Geneva, Cairo, Rabat 10/7/2008

The parties agreed upon this letter:

1.      The Arab Commission for Human Rights (France)

2.      The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Cairo)

3.      The International Civil Aid Organization (Sudan)

4.      The Woman Forum for Studies and Training (Yemen)

5.      The Bahraini Association for Human Rights (Bahrain)

6.      The Arab council for Support of Fair Trial

7.      The Civil Observatory for Human Rights

8.      The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

9.      The National Association for Human Rights and Development

10.  Al Helali League for Freedoms

11.  Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies

12.  Damascus Center for Theoretical Studies and Civil rights (Sweden)

13.  The French Observatory for Human Rights (Paris)

14.  The Arab-European Cultural Forum (France)

15.  Liberty Center for Political Rights and Democracy Support

16.  Land Center for Human Rights

17.  Egyptian Center for Housing Rights

18.  Al Karama for Defense of Human Rights (Geneva)

19.  Dialogue forum for Development and Human Rights

20.  Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement

21.  Arab Foundation for Support of the Civil Society and Human Rights

22.  International Justice Organization (The Hague)

23.  Human Rights First Organization (KSA)

24.  El Nageeb for Training and Democracy Support

25.  Karmal Foundation for Digital Media

26.  South Center for Human Rights

27.  Free Voice Organization for Defense of Human Rights

28.  The International Campaign for Guantanamo Close Down (Geneva)

29.  Association for Human Rights Legal Aid

30.  The Egyptian Observatory for Justice and Law

31.  Europe-Palestine List (Paris)

32.  The National Organization for Human Rights (Syria)

33.  The Egyptian Organization Against Torture (Egypt)

34.  Sada (Eco) Site for Rights and Freedoms (France)

35.  The Egyptian Association for the Support of Democratic Development

36.  The Egyptian Center for Development and Democratic Studies

37.  The European-Arab Coordination for Freedom of Expression (Europe)

38.  Al Dhamir (Conscience) Foundation for Human Rights (Gaza)

39.  Human Rights defenders in the Arab World

40.  The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (Egypt)

41.  New woman Foundation (Egypt)

42.  Uruk Independent Media Organization-Iraq

43.  One World Organization for Development and Civil Society Care(Egypt)

44.  The Egyptian Democratic Institute(Egypt)

45.  The Women Group for Human Rights (Egypt)