Families of Remaining Rif Detainees ‘Disappointed’ at Royal Pardons

Rabat – While King Mohammed VI’s pardons of 1,178 prisoners on the occasion of the Throne Day has pleased the families of some detained Rif protesters, many others were left disappointed.The monarch granted pardons to 56 Rif activists, including singer and leading member of the protest movement Hirak, Salima Ziani, whose health notability deteriorated while in prison. Also pardoned was activist Rabii El Ablak, who went on a hunger strike during her detenion.On Saturday, the Royal Cabinet issued a communiqué announcing the release of some Rif activists, as well as members of the youth-wing of Justice and Development Party (PJD) who were detained for “praising terrorism.” The release stated that the pardoned detainees were released because they did not commit “serious crimes,” taking into account their “family” and “humanitarian” conditions.Yet, dozens of other activists remain in detention. Among the detainees still held in Casablanca prison is Nasser Zefzafi, the most prominent figure of Hirak. His father, Ahmed Zefzafi, told Al Yaoum24 that the families of remaining detained activists are “disappointed,”and that they do not know whether their children will be released or not.“Everything is unclear. Nobody has called us, and we don’t know if Nasser and his colleagues will be released,” he said.The father stated that the families will try to understand what is going on when they meet their sons on Wednesday.The remaining detainees have been charged with heavy crimes for their involvement in the past eight months of demonstrations in the region of Al Hoceima. The list of charges included “undermining” the security of the state and receiving sums of money and using propaganda to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity. read more