At a time when Morocco is advocating openness, democratisation and full respect for human rights as instruments for confronting the future, we receive the news of the hunger strike begun by the journalist Ali Lmrabet. For this reason, we wish to pass on to you our deep concern for the situation of this journalist, who has received dozens of international awards and who is deprived of his national identity documents coinciding with the end of a 10-year ban on exercising the profession of journalist in Morocco and also with his announcement that he wishes to return to professional activity.
Freedom of expression and criticism are fundamental elements for the consolidation of a democratic state that is active against regression and intolerance. Any attempt to restrict freedom of expression degrades the image of Morocco and the credibility of its commitment to the rule of law.
Precisely because, from here, we wish to lend our full support to any effort to transform Morocco developed at different levels of the political world and civil society in the country, we are writing to you to express our serious concern at the current situation of Ali Lmrabet, whose life is in danger.
For all these reasons, we would ask you to reflect on this to give instructions to the administration in your country, and its diplomatic staff in Switzerland in particular, to renew all Ali Lmrabet’s Moroccan citizenship documents.
Without a residence certificate, passport and other documents related to journalistic work, Ali Lmrabet would become the first Moroccan deprived of his civil and political rights.
We do not need to give you, Your Majesty, lessons in the fact that the deprivation of these rights is contrary to all liberties, including fundamental freedoms, freedom of expression and, in the case of Ali, the internationally recognised and acclaimed right to freely exercise the profession of journalist. The only thing we would ask you, Your Majesty, in your capacity as Head of State, is to strictly apply the provisions of the Moroccan Constitution, giving the right to all citizens to fully and freely exercise their profession, in this case as journalist and editor of publications in Morocco.
We look forward to your considered response.
Letter signed by the following:
Míriam Acebillo Baqué, President of Lafede.cat, Organisations for Global Justice Mariano Aguirre, Director of Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (Norway) Cinta Arasa, Coordinator of the Persecuted Writers Committee Carmen Arenas, President of Catalan PEN Homero Aridjis, Emeritus President of International PEN Jordi Armadans, Director of FundiPau (Peace Foundation) Sion Assidon, former Secretary General of Transparency-Morocco Margaret Atwood, Vice-President of Canada International PEN, Prince of Asturias Award Danielle Auroi, MP of the National Assembly of France Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Writer, HM Award International Odón Betanzos Palacios of the New York Circle of Ibero-American writers and poets (Equatorial Guinea) Malén Aznárez, President of Reporters without Borders (RSF- Spanish section) Elisabeth Badinter, Philosopher Ekbal Baraka, Chair of PEN International Women Writers Committee, former president of Egyptian PEN Isaías Barreñada Bajo, University Professor and Human Rights activist Ana Barrero Tiscar, Peace Culture Foundation Mark Barwick, Policy Adviser at Human Rights Without Frontiers International (Switzerland) David Bassa i Cabanas, Journalist, president of the Barnils Group of Journalists Lluís Bassets, Deputy director of El Pais (Spain) Anouar Bassi, Transparency 25 President (Tunisia) Abdejelil Bedoui, Economist and member of the FTDES Steering committee Sélim Ben Abdesselem, Former member of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly Abdelkader Benali, Writer and journalist, Libris Prize (Netherlands) Thijs Berman, Former Dutch MP of the European Parliament Mylène Botbol–Baum, Writer, University professor of philosophy and bioethics Marian Botsford Fraser, Writer and journalist, Chair of Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International Canada Jean-Marcel Bouguereau, Journalist Le Nouvel Observateur and former chief editor of Libération Sfia Bouarfa, Belgian honorary MP and former senator Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) François Burgat, Political scientist, Research Director of CNRS Teresa Cadete, Portuguese writer, board member of PEN International Lindsay Callaghan, President of PEN South Africa Maria Cañadas, Gemma Calvet, MP of Parliament of Catalonia (Spain) Carles Campuzano, MP of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Marius Carol, Editor of La Vanguardia Ignacio Cembrero, Journalist, former correspondent of El País in Maghreb Nadia Chaabane, Former deputy of Tunisian National Constituent Assembly Alain Chabod, International Consultant, former journalist of France Television Luc Chartrand, Journalist, Radio-Canada Larbi Chouikha, University professor; Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information (IPSI) (Tunisia) John Maxwell Coetzee, Writer, Nobel Prize in Literature 2003, Vicepresident of PEN International Robert Coover, Writer, William Faulkner Foundation Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and National Endowment of the Arts (USA) Olivier Corten, Professor; Centre of international law of ULB; Brussels Joan Coscubiela, Deputy of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Olivier Da Lage, Journalist, Vice-president of IFJ, RFI and SNJ Luc Dardenne, Filmmaker Eric David, Emeritus professor of International Law; Chairman of The International Law Centre of the ULB Ascensión de las Heras, MP of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Antonio Della Rocca, President of the Trieste PEN Center, Member of the Board of PEN International (Italy) Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders Nicolas Dot Pouillard, Resercher of MAEE Christos Doulkeridis, President of ECOLO group in the Parliament of the Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation (Belgium) André du Bus, Deputy of Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation Josy Dubié, Honorary senator (Belgium), former journalist and ONU official François Dubuisson, Professor, International Law Centre of ULB (Brussels) Patrick Dupriez, Co-chair of Ecolo party Isabelle Durant, Brussels MP (Belgium) Mohamed El Battiui, President of the Amazigh World Assembly Najat El Hamchi, Writer, Ramon Llull Prize Ahmed El Khannous, MP, Brussels Parliament Mahmoud El May, MP and Member of the National Constituent Assembly (Tunisia) Isabelle Emmery, Brussels Member of Parliament Mathias Enard, Writer, Gouncourt Prize 2012 Charles Enderlin, Journalist, former France2 correspondent in Israel Moris Farhi, MBE Vice-President, PEN International Halim Feddal, Secretary General of the National Association for the Fights against corruption (Algeria) Soledad Gallego-Díaz, Journalist of El País Vicent Garcés, Former Member of the European Parliament María Caridad García Álvarez, MP of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Lise Garon, Professor, Laval University Zoé Genot, Ecolo MP, Brussels Regional Parliament François Gèze, President and chief editor of Éditions La Découverte (France) Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive Officer of Index on Censorship Henri Goldman, Editor of Politique, revue de débats and MICmag (Belgium) Eric Goldstein, human rights activist (United States) Elsa González, FAPE President (Spanish Press Associations Federation) Juan Goytisolo, Writer, National Prize of Spanish Letters and Miguel de Cervantes Prize Rafael Grasa Hernández, President of Institut Català Internacional per a la Pau Ricardo Gutiérrez, Secretary general of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Maher Hanin, Member of steering committee of FTDES Abderrahmane Hedhili, President of Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) Seymour M. Hersh, American journalist Francis Hickel, Coordinator Pâquis Solidarity Space, Geneva Jesús Iglesias Fernández, Senator (Spain) Jon Iñárritu García, MP of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Véronique Jamoulle, MP, Brussels Parliament Jean-Jacques Jespers, University Professor, Université libre de Bruxelles Oriol Junqueres i Vies, Chairman of the party “Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya” (ERC) and opposition leader in Parliament of Catalonia Lucina Kathmann, Writer, Vice-president of PEN International (United States) Salam Kawakibi, Arab Reform Initiative, president of the Initiative for a New Syria Melek Kefif, Doctor and member of the Steering committee of FTDES Charefeddine Kellil, Lawyer for the families of martyrs and wounded (Tunisia) Zakia Khattabi, Co-chair of Ecolo Party (Green Belgian) Kamel Labidi, Tunisian journalist, former director of Amnesty International in Tunisia and former president of the National Authority to Reform Information and Communication (INRIC) Luis Las Heras, Editor (Spain) Gilwon Lee, Poète, Poet, Sang-Byeong Cheon Prize and Dong-Ju Yoon Literary Prize, Board Member, PEN International South Korea Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, vice-president of PEN International (USA) Jean-Claude Lefort, Former MP at the French Parliament Emmanuel Lemieux, Essayist, and investigation journalist (France) Stefano Liberti, journalist and writer, Luchetta Award to the best journalist and Anello Debole Prize Jonathan Littell, Writer, Goncourt Award and Grand Prix du Roman of the French Academy Robert Littell, Writer and journalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize (USA) Juan López de Uralde, Executive Commission Equo party, former Greenpeace-Spain Director Bernabé López García, Professor, former member of Averroes Committee Spain-Morocco Mehdi Mabrouk, Former Culture Minister (Tunisia) Noël Mamère, MP of the National Assembly and Mayor of Bègles (France) Sherif Mansour, MENA Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Christophe Marchand, Lawyer, Brussels (Belgium) Jean-Paul Marthoz, journalist, correspondent of the Committe to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in the European Union Sandrine Martins Espinoza, Lawyer and international consultant for elections (Argentine) Daniel Patrick Maunier, University Professor, New York University Fernando Maura Barandarián, Spanish MP, European Parliament Federico Mayor Zaragoza, President of Foundation for a culture of peace, former Director of UNESCO Daniel Menschaert, Diplomatic, Honorary Officer of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels in Morocco Manuela Mesa Peinado, CEIPAZ Director, Peace Culture Foundation Rosa Montero, Writer and journalist, Grinzane Cavour award and National Journalism Award (Spain) Quim Monzó, Writer, National Literature award (Catalonia) Alexandre Niyungeko, President of the Burundi Journalists Union (UBJ) Elisabeth Nordgren, Chair of the Search Committee, PEN International (Finland) Vida Ognjenovic, Vicepresident, PEN International (Serbia) Margie Orford, Board Member, PEN International (South Africa) Mario Orrù, Observer Coordinator at Democracy International Bechir Ouarda, Journalist, Former Coordinator of the civil coalition in defence of freedom of expression in Tunisia Rémy Pagani, Administrative Councillor for the city of Geneva Andrés Perelló, Former Member of the European Parliament, Spain Rosana Pérez Fernández, MP of the Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Tone Peršak, Chair of Writers for Peace Committee, Pen International (Slovenia) Thomas Pierret, University professor, University of Edinburgh John Ralston Saul, Writer, president of PEN International Pedro J. Ramírez, Editor of El Español, former editor of El Mundo Raul Rivero, Cuban writer, UNESCO / Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize Raül Romeva Rueda, Former Spanish MP, European Parliament Jean Louis Roumegas, MP of the French Parliament Elena Ruiz Ruiz, University professor (Spain) Hélène Ryckmans, Member of the Walloon Parliament and the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, Senator Messaoud Romdhani, Member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Network of Human Rights (EMHRN), and vice president of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH) Amor Safraoui, Chairman of the Independent National Coordination for Transitional Justice (Tunisia) Mohamed Salah Kherigi, Trade unionist, Vice-president of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH) Raffaella Salierno, General Secretary of PEN Català, Director of the GuestWriter programme Victoria Salvy, Artist and writer (France) Gervasio Sánchez Fernández, Journalist, National Photography Award, and Ortega y Gasset Journalism Award (Spain) Mhamed Seghier, Journalist of Liberté (Algeria) Màrius Serra, Writer, Ramon Llul and Sant Jordi Awards (Catalonia) Amira Aleya Sghaier, Tunisian historian and university professor Mohamed Sheriff, President of PEN Sierra Leona Ricardo Sixto Iglesias, MP at Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Simona Skrabec, Chair of Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, PEN International Mohamed Smaïn, Activist in charge of human rights, Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) Carles Solà, Journalist, TV3 program Director (Catalonia, Spain) Carlo Sommaruga, Lawyer, MP of the Swiss parliament Karima Souid, Former MP of the Tunisians from abroad, member of National Constituent Assembly of Tunisis Simone Susskind, MP of Brussels – Capital Region Abdellah Taïa, Moroccan Writer, Flore Award Alaa Talbi, President of Alternatives, Tunisian Section Joan Tardà, MP of Congreso de los Diputados (Spain) Sami Tlili, Tunisian Filmmaker, Cinema and Human Rights Award of Amnesty International and Best documentary of the Arab world Award Jarkko Tontti, Treasurer of PEN International (Finland) Manuel Tornare, Swiss MP, former Mayor of Geneva Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International Estefania Torres, Spanish MP of the European Parliament Mathew Tree, Writer, Octubre – Andròmina Award Jane Unrue, Director of the Harvard Scholars at Risk (SAR) Program and Freedom to Write Committee board for PEN, New England (United States) Miguel Urban, Spanish MP of the European Parliament) Dominique Vidal, Journalist Santiago Vidal i Marsal, Judge of Provincial Audience Chamber of Barcelona, Judges for Democracy Per Wästberg, Writer, President of Nobel Committee for Literature, former President of PEN International Lawrence Weschler, écrivain, George Polk et Lannan Literary Award (United States)