In the midst of his second hunger strike in two months, Maati Monjib collapsed and was taken to the hospital on Tuesday night. Monjib is a historian, investigative journalist, and president of Freedom Now–Maroc, a Moroccan human rights group that fights for freedom of expression.
When Monjib and other journalists founded Freedom Now last April, the government quickly deprived their Association of legal status by simply refusing to process their application. For months, Monjib has been the object of a systematic campaign of outrageous personal and political slander in the press of political parties close to the Throne. On Sept. 16, Professor Monjib was blocked at Casablanca airport by Moroccan security police and prevented from leaving for Barcelona to attend an academic forum organized by the European Institute of the Mediterranean. He has been prevented from attending journalism conferences Norway as well as Spain.
Monjib edited and arranged the publication of Raya Dunayevskaya’s book, Marxism and Freedom, in the Arabic language. We are informed by a friend that a letter-writing campaign may work “in the present tug-of-war with the authoritarian monarchy.” We urge you to write (see below).
According to the Associated Press, the government claims that “the travel ban against him was imposed during an investigation into ‘financial irregularities.'” Of the 180 countries ranked in terms of freedom of the press by Reporters without Borders, Morocco is 130th.
Monjib is active internationally as a scholar, having taught in the U.S. and participated in conferences throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He is known for his articulate defense of the values of democracy, human rights, and internationalism. Monjib directs the Ibn Rochd [“Averoes” in English] Center in Rabat and is preparing an Arabic edition of Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary.
HERE’S HOW TO HELP
The Monarchy is sensitive to international opinion, and you can put pressure on it by writing to the Moroccan Ambassador in London, Washington, or wherever you live. Here’s a sample message you can copy/paste right now:
Your Highness/Your Excellency:
Scholars and journalists around the world are disturbed by reports of harassment of our respected colleague Maati Monjib. Please reassure us that his right to travel, speak and write freely will be protected by the Moroccan Monarchy.
Respectfully yours, etc,
Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal
H.H. Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui
Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco to The Court of Saint James’s