Target: Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane
Goal: Return several homes seized without justification to their owners in Morocco.
The government of Morocco has kept the homes of two minority political figures completely sealed for the past seven years without any form of legal justification. The Moroccan police claim that this was due to suspicion of “unauthorized” meetings taking place in the houses. Under Moroccan law, however, non-violent, private meetings do not require any state authorization, even if they are conducted for political purposes. This is a deeply unethical way for the Moroccan government to exercise its power and should be stopped. Demand that these currently sealed homes be returned to their owners immediately.
The homes belong to members of Adl wa’l Ihsan, a small grassroots anti-monarchist group. When the owner of one of the homes, a 55-year old school principal, inquired as to the reason for its seizure, he was referred to a different official. However, the second official likewise denied that the closure was his jurisdiction, and all similar efforts have yielded similar results. In this way, the homeowners in question have been effectively denied any appeal via calculated bureaucracy.
Although Adl wa’l Ihsan is a controversial group in Morocco, its members have never been linked to violence. As such, there is little reason for police to take such drastic actions against its members. This is particularly shameful given that Morocco’s 2011 Constitution guarantees both the right to property and the freedom of non-violent association, in addition to a provision establishing the right of all citizens to the legal system.
The government of Morocco must be informed that sealing houses is not an appropriate way to deal with political adversaries, no matter how controversial their platforms might be. Demand that the homes should be returned immediately, and the owners provided compensation for the years of seizure. Tell the Moroccan government to make provisions ensuring that this type of theft does not occur again.
Dear Prime Minister Benkirane,
For the past seven years the Moroccan police have kept the homes of two members of the Adl wa’l Ihsan political group sealed without legal cause. The police reported that this was a punishment for “unauthorized” meetings taking place in the homes; under the 2011 Constitution, however, nonviolent assembly is not a crime.
The right to assemble is critical for a free nation to exist. These sorts of heavy-handed actions against a non-violent group, even one with a far-reaching or controversial agenda, are deeply unethical and jeopardize all the important, liberal reforms that the Moroccan government has made in the past few years. These men should have their homes returned to them and be appropriately compensated, and restrictions should be put into place so that this does not happen again.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Mustapha Ennaimi via Wikimedia Commons