Moroccan journalist’s travel ban must be lifted on humanitarian grounds, RSF says
Maati Monjib, a Rabat-based journalist and historian with French and Moroccan dual nationality, has begun another hunger strike after being banned from travelling to France for medical treatment. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this travel ban, which puts his life in danger.
Announcing his latest hunger strike in a Facebook post on 13 October, Monjib said he was being prevented from travelling to France to see his family and to be treated for cardiac problems triggered by his previous hunger strikes.
The Moroccan prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Monjib’s release from prison in March was conditioned on two judicial control measures – a ban on leaving the country and the withdrawal of his passport.
“Maati Monjib’s travel ban must be lifted for humanitarian reasons,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the director of RSF’s North Africa bureau. “This journalist must be able to visit his family and receive the treatment he needs to recover his health, which has been weakened by his many hunger strikes in recent years. Preventing him from leaving the country is tantamount to a death sentence.”
Monjib stopped eating for 20 days in March in protest against the sentence of one year in prison and a fine of 15,000 dirhams (1,400 euros) that he received from a court in Rabat on 27 January on trumped-up charges of “fraud” and “undermining internal state security.” He ended the hunger strike when he was granted a provisional release on 23 March.
The Moroccan authorities have been subjecting Monjib to judicial harassment for years. He was unable to attend the January hearing at which the court nonetheless went ahead and convicted him. Because they had not been notified, his lawyers were not present either to hear the court issue its decision.
Monjib’s appeal against his conviction and sentence was due to be heard on 30 September but the hearing was postponed until 2 December. Since December 2020, Monjib has also been the subject of a separate judicial investigation on suspicion of money-laundering.
Morocco is ranked 136th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.