An open letter addressed to each of : Mr. Head of Government and Mr. Minister of Justice and Liberties
Topic: Protest against the administrative and judicial police violation of the right to belief in Salé and Guelmim cities Messrs.
As part of its duties to promote and protect human rights and the rights of peoples, as mentioned in the international conventions of human rights related to its powers, the National Federation of Amazigh Associations in Morocco (FNAA) received two complaints of two Amazigh Moroccan citizens named Mr. M.I.K and Mr. B.Kh.M. They are arrested, arbitrary detained, humiliated and touched in their dignity and their freedom of religious belief by the administrative and judicial police -gendarmerie royal- installed in “Al Aarjat” area of the city of Rabat on the evening of March 10, 2016 for the first, and on March 6, 2016, at the entrance of Guelmim city, by the police for the second. The both complaints, also mention that the two Moroccan citizens concerned shall adopt, on their own volition, the Christian religion in accordance with that which stated in chapters 17 and 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the first paragraph of chapter 24 and chapter 25 of the Moroccan Constitution of July 2011. As in the Declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, which was adopted pursuant to resolution No. 36/55 of the UN General Assembly on 25/11/1981.
The first complaint, also points out that the first complainant was abused in degrading manner by the Gendarmerie Police of the “Al Arjate” zone, and that his interrogation has turned into a real religious Inquisition tribunal in which his interrogators assigned the role of religious Muftis. After accusing him of “apostasy”, they openly declared they would convert him from of Christianity and “re-convert him to Islam: the state religion, according their own words. Therefore, and given the two events gravity, which are in themselves a potential threat to life, physical integrity and personal security of the two plaintiffs-especially in the Salé city case, where the two policemen have deliberately and openly stated the belief of the complainant in front of all the passengers on board the bus from which he was arrested, the National Federal of Amazigh Associations (FNAA) include and emphasize the following:
1- That what happened in the two cities at once, is in our view, a serious violation of the right to belief guaranteed and protected by the texts of ratified international agreements on civil and political rights, and signed by Morocco, to what is stated in the Moroccan constitution that refers explicitly and to the conduct code of staff responsible for law enforcement;
2-That the fact that Moroccans change their religion and embraced others, voluntarily, is not a crime in Moroccan law;
3- That the fact that the administrative and judicial police appropriated – in both cities- the role of religious preachers and Muftis is in itself an identity usurpation and prejudicially affect its powers and prerogatives and the public declaration of the intimate faith of the first complainant by the police in the “Al Arjate” area is a cause of a real threat to the life of the concerned, his physical safety and personal security;
4- That the arrest, detention and interrogation that have endured both complainants were executed illegally, outside the framework of justice and constitute a flagrant violation of international legislation in the field, and also the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution;
5- that the use of the authority to prohibit or impose a religious belief on the citizens is a crime punishable under the provisions of Article 220 and 221 of the Moroccan Penal Code, as it fits also in both form and background the point of view, against the freedom and the right to belief;
6-That the incident, in itself, is a real regression in Morocco in support of efforts to promote cultural, linguistic, and religious diversities and a retreat from the new constitutional commitments.
Accordingly, we, the National Federal of Amazigh Associations in Morocco (FNAA), proclaim and declare:
1- Our condemnation of police conduct mentioned above and our outrage at what they did and openly said that we see it as going against the provisions of Chapters 17, 18 & 27 of the International convention on Civil and Political rights. And against the first paragraph of Chapter 24 & 25 of the Moroccan constitution of July 2011 and the conduct code of staff responsible for law enforcement;
2- We ask to open a consistent judicial inquiry with all that implies, on what happened, in order to prevent it from happening again;
3- To develop and implement an emergency program to train and support the skills and qualifications of the officials responsible for law enforcement, including women and men of the administrative and judicial police in matter of human rights and the rights of peoples;
4- To stop this restrictions process on citizens privacy and to guarantee and respect their belief freedom and the choices they make on their own.
Rabat on March 18, 2016
National Federation of Amazigh associations in Morocco (FNAA)