Human Rights and Freedom of Expression in Morocco
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a virtual briefing on the current human rights situation in Morocco.
Amid large protests in 2011 and popular uprisings that overthrew governments in other North African countries, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI introduced a new constitution and promised needed reforms. Ten years later, however, civil society and human rights organizations have expressed serious concern about mounting threats to civil liberties.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that since 2016, Moroccan authorities have arrested and harassed local journalists who covered protests in the northern Rif region, land expropriations, corruption allegations, and other politically sensitive topics—highlighting a pattern of selective criminal prosecutions in apparent retaliation for journalistic work. In recent years, state prosecutors have increasingly charged local journalists with alleged sexual misbehavior or assault, as seen in the convictions of Hajar Raissouni, Afaf Bernani, and Taoufik Bouachrine. Most recently, human rights activists and U.S. officials have expressed concern at the lack of due process for Soulaimane Raissouni and Omar Radi, both prominent journalists who were convicted in July 2021 of seemingly politically motivated sexual assault charges. Prosecutions of senior editorial staff (including Bouachrine and Raissouni), other legal harassment, and an advertising boycott forced Akhbar al Youm, one of Morocco’s last independent newspapers, to shutter its doors in April 2021.
Moroccan journalists, academics and analysts will provide an update on the human rights situation in the Kingdom and offer recommendations for Congress and the Biden administration.
This virtual briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. To attend, please register here. For questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith). For help with registration or technical support, please contact Matt McLaughlin of the TLHRC staff.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
- Samia Errazzouki, Co-Editor, Jadaliyya, Co-Founder, Khmissa
- Aboubakr Jamaï, Moroccan journalist and Dean and Professor, The School of Business & International Relations, American College of the Mediterranean
- Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Written Statement (English), Written Statement (Arabic), Written Statement (French)
- Intissar Fakir, Senior Fellow and Director of Program on North Africa and the Sahel, Middle East Institute
- Alexis Arieff, Specialist in African Affairs, Congressional Research Service
Samia Errazzouki, “A crackdown on the press is demolishing what’s left of Morocco’s liberal reputation,” Washington Post (December 2019)
Intissar Fakir, "Interview with Moroccan Human Rights Activist Maâti Monjib," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 24, 2020
POMED, CPJ and 14 other human rights organizations, "Joint Statement to Moroccan Authorities: Release Omar Radi and Guarantee Fair Trial Proceedings" April 5, 2021
Reporters Without Borders, "RSF secretary-general appeals to King Mohammed during visit to Morocco," June 24, 2021
Adel Abdel Ghafar, "The arrest of Maati Monjib and the continued retreat of human rights in Morocco," Brookings, August 5, 2021
Human Rights Watch, "Morocco: Espionage Case Against Outspoken Journalist," September 21, 2020
Committee to Protect Journalists, "Journalist Omar Radi arrested, charged in Morocco," July 29, 2020
Washington Post Editorial Board, "Opinion: Morocco's jailed journalists deserve the Biden administration's attention," April 20, 2021
Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, "Freedom of expression and of press in Morocco," August 2021
Kingdom of Morocco, National Human Rights Council, "Preliminary findings: Observation of Mr. Soulaimane Raissouni and Mr. Omar Radi' trials for sexual violence related offences"