26 JUNE 2009
Update 14.4.2011: Chakik El-Khayari is free: Youtube
Today, on the UN Day Against Drug Abuse, the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (Encod) , an European NGO platform of organisations working in the drug field, have presented a letter to Moroccan embassies in 14 European countries (the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal) as well as to the embassies of these countries in Marocco, to ask the immediate release of Chakib El Khayari, a prominent human rights activist.
Chakib El Khayari was arrested in Casablanca on 18 February 2009. As chairman of the Human Rights Association of the Rif, he had made critical declarations in the press concerning the level of corruption in the drug control agencies of the Moroccan state. These agencies turn a blind eye to the illicit export of hash from Morocco, and carry out a repressive policy with regards to the farmers who grow cannabis.
There have never been any serious accusations against El Khayari. Various human rights organisations have asked for his release, many letters have been sent to the Moroccan authorities, but until now, there are no signs that Morocco takes these calls seriously. On 24 June 2009, El Khayari was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a fine of 68.000 euro.
In the letter, that is adressed to the Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Encod categorises the verdict against El Khayari as “a sad example of the state of both the human rights situation and of the fight against drugs in Morocco. Moroccan authorities do not want the truth about a failed drug policy to be heard. Chakib El Khayari is a courageous man, not afraid to stand up against drug traffickers and corrupt officials. He is the kind of citizen that Morocco should be proud of. This verdict damages the reputation of the country and its drug policies.”Republish