AFP, revealed on Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 7:08 p.m.
MEPs strongly criticized the deterioration of press freedom in Morocco on Thursday, saying they have been additionally “involved” by the allegations of corruption weighing on Rabat within the framework of an investigation carried out by Belgian justice and in addition focusing on Qatar .
In a non-binding textual content broadly adopted in Strasbourg – 356 votes for, 32 towards and 42 abstentions – the European Parliament “urges” the Moroccan authorities to “respect freedom of expression and freedom of the media” and to “assure imprisoned journalists (…) a good trial”.
MEPs insist specifically on the case of Omar Radi. This 36-year-old freelance journalist, identified for his positions vital of energy, was arrested in 2020 and sentenced on enchantment in March to 6 years in jail for “rape” and “espionage”, fees he has at all times denied.
“Many protection rights weren’t revered, which taints the entire trial with unfairness and bias”, contemplate the MEPs, who’re asking for his provisional launch, in addition to that of Taoufik Bouachrine, 54, ex-press boss imprisoned since 2018, and Soulaimane Rassouni, 50, one other journalist sentenced to 5 years in jail in 2022. All three have been convicted of fees with a sexual connotation.
MEPs additionally demand “an finish to the harassment of all journalists within the nation”.
Rabat didn’t react instantly to the vote on this unprecedented decision by the European Parliament, even when media near the federal government castigated “interference” and “blackmail”.
Through the current go to to Morocco by the top of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita thought-about that “the partnership between Morocco and the EU is dealing with repeated media assaults and assaults, significantly within the inside Parliament”.
Morocco and the EU have been linked since 1996 by an affiliation settlement which covers shut financial and business relations, significantly within the subject of agriculture and fisheries.
– “Circumstances of corruption” –
The Moroccan authorities guarantee that justice is impartial and that the convictions of journalists “don’t have anything to do” with their journalistic work. Human Rights Watch (HRW) had, quite the opposite, denounced in July the event of “underhanded strategies of repression” towards opponents.
“This vote confirms that these are certainly assaults towards journalists so as to silence them,” the daddy of Omar Radi, a member of the help committee for journalists imprisoned in Morocco, advised AFP.
“We reiterate our name to launch journalists and social motion activists (in detention) and to ensure them the suitable to honest trials of which they’ve been disadvantaged”, reacted Driss Radi.
“After 25 years of passivity”, the European Parliament is “placing an finish to an unlucky pattern which consists in exempting Morocco from any touch upon assaults on freedom of the press and human rights”, rejoiced Reporters With out Borders ( RSF) in an announcement.
Morocco occupies one hundred and thirty fifth place out of 180 nations on this planet rating of press freedom established by RSF.
This decision in regards to the media in Morocco additionally mentions Rabat’s alleged involvement within the corruption scandal that has shaken the European Parliament since December.
The European Parliament says it’s “deeply involved” by “the allegations that the Moroccan authorities have corrupted members of the European Parliament”.
Like Doha, the Cherifian kingdom has strongly contested these allegations of corruption.
In Barcelona, the Spanish Prime Minister, Socialist Pedro Sánchez, admitted that Spanish Socialist MEPs had voted towards the textual content. In line with the Spanish press, 17 of the 32 deputies who opposed the textual content are Spanish socialists.
“It’s a decision (…) of which we don’t share sure parts and which, due to this fact, the Spanish Socialist MEPs (…) clearly didn’t help, as additionally occurs in different votes “, did he declare.
He added that he wished Spanish-Moroccan relations to be “in good well being”.
Mr. Sánchez ended a year-long estrangement with Morocco final yr by agreeing to help Moroccan positions on Western Sahara.