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Frontline Defenders concerned about arbitrary detention of Saharawi Medias and human rights activist, Ibrahim Mrikli

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Dublin (Ireland) 21 May 2020 (SPS)- Front Line Defenders expressed deep concerns in a Press Release issued Today, regarding the “arbitrary detention of Ibrahim Mrikli and the charges brought against him” by the Moroccan authorities of occupation, “in direct reprisal for his peaceful and legitimate human rights work, documenting violations in Western Sahara.”
Front Line Defenders urged the Moroccan authorises to “Immediately drop all charges against Ibrahim Mrikli as it is believed that they are solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights” and to “carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the physical abuse of human rights defender Ibrahim Mrikli, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.”
It further called on Morocco to “guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Westren Sahara are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.”
On 15 May 2020, human rights defender, Mr. Ibrahim Mrikli, was “arbitrarily detained in El Aaiun by several Moroccan police officers dressed in plain clothes. He has been charged with ‘insulting public servants’, ‘stone throwing’ and ‘violating quarantine regulations’,” the press release says.
The Saharawi activist and member of Nushatta Foundation for Media and Human Rights, a Western Sahara-based NGO which has been working in the field of media activism and human rights advocacy since its establishment in 2013, Ibrahim Mrikli “works as a photographer documenting human rights violations committed by the Moroccan authorities in Western Sahara.”
The victim was on his way to a pharmacy “when he was stopped and arrested by several Moroccan police officers dressed in plain clothes. He was interrogated for two and a half hours the next day, “during which he was physically and verbally abused and expressly told by the interrogator that his lawyer was not allowed to be present during the interrogation.”
On 17 May 2020, Ibrahim Mrikli was charged with ‘insulting public servants’, ‘stone throwing’ and ‘violating the quarantine regulations’. These charges “were based on alleged confessions given by Ibrahim Mrikli during the interrogation; however the human rights defender refutes the claim that he confessed to these crimes.
The defender was released on a bail of 3000 Dirham (approximately 300 Euros) on the same day. The hearing is yet to be scheduled.
“Ibrahim Mrikli has previously been harassed and subjected to arbitrary detention by the Moroccan authorities. In January 2019, he was detained for two months, and in July 2019, he was also sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. In both instances he was charged with ‘insulting public servants’ and ‘stone throwing’,” Frontline recalled. (SPS0
090/500/60 (SPS)