Morocco: Against torture somewhere; against torture anywhere
Global Voices, Hisham
Moroccan officials have been up in arms this week, queuing in front of cameras to express their utmost outrage after the arrest and alleged torture of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud [Fr] by the Polisario Front, the Algerian-backed separatist movement that disputes sovereignty over Western Sahara with Morocco. Mustapha Salma, a former Polisario Front police chief and high ranking official was accused of treason by the separatist movement after he publicly praised the autonomy plan [Ar], proposed by Moroccans to solve the over three-decade old conflict. The story of Mustapha Salma can hardly pass unnoticed as it is all over the media in Morocco; his pictures splashed across the front pages of local newspapers. The official media has been condemning the Polisario and their Algerian backers on the ground that they have violated Mustapha Salma's right to free expression and for fear that he may be facing torture. (Mustapha Salma has, reportedly, since been released.)
Whilst this story raises legitimate concerns over the violation of human rights by the Polisario Front and the Algerian regime, some bloggers expressed outrage over the indifference of local mainstream media and the Moroccan government over the fate of a young Moroccan, Fodeil Aberkane. It is a more local, but way more horrifying story of a young man, whose most basic human right, the right to life, has been denied.
Fodail Aberkane was trying to get his moped back.
Bill Day writing on the a la menthe agrees:
Because the victims are not celebrities, they suffer and die unnoticed by the Western media — out of sight, out of mind. While the Kingdom has broken very publicly with the “Years of Lead,” during which there was widespread torture of political dissidents under King Hassan II, incidents such as those reported by Lalami are a chilling counterpoint to the current regime's bright face of prosperity, particularly when coupled with ongoing suppression of any kind of free press.
Blogger and activist Najib Chaouki [Ar] created a Facebook group called “We Are All Victims of Torture,” in which preamble he calls for the “perpetrators of this crime to be prosecuted diligently.”
Si ce gouvernement, avait une seule once de dignité, il devrait différer le plus tôt possible les assassins de Fodail Aberkane devant la justice ne serait-ce que pour ne pas mourir du ridicule. Quant à la torture, on oserait même pas penser qu’elle cessera un jour, tant qu’au Maroc , elle est apparemment éternelle.
The Makhzen is the generic word that designates the Moroccan ruling establishment.
[Ils] ne s’intéressent au Maroc qu’à travers l’optique orientalisme-islamisme-terrorisme – et dans cette optique, Fodail Aberkane ne remplit pas de fonction utile.
They see Morocco only through the lens of orientalism/Islamism/terrorism - and in this respect, Fodail Aberkane does not fulfill any useful function.
Excessive, unchecked prerogatives delegated to the police often lead to an arbitrary abuse of power, as Riad Essebai writes on Robin des Blogs [Fr]:
Aberkane n'est ni le premier, ni le dernier à être la victime d'un système, ou l'agent de la force publique peut être, à la foi, juge et arbitre. Ce pouvoir “absolu”, est le véritable criminel dans cette affaire, et c'est cela qu'il faudra combattre. Aberkane is neither the first nor the last to be the victim of a system in which a police officer may be judge and arbiter. This “absolute” power is the real criminal in this case, and this is what we should be fighting.
aboulahab, writing on the C.J.D.M. blog [Fr] (Circle of Young Moroccan Idiots) urges people to speak up:
[L]’Histoire retiendra tout type de profil, sauf le profil bas. Assez de bassesse. Le Maroc a besoin de grands hommes, qu’ils se manifestent. Sommes-nous déjà une civilisation de fonctionnaires asservis et de citoyens muets ?
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