Two decades in prison for speaking out

Nasser Zefzafi - Morocco

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LOCKED UP FOR 20 YEARS FOR DEMANDING CHANGE

Human Rights Defender Nasser Zefzafi is serving decades in prison for peacefully protesting. He was subjected to torture and ill-treatment and is being held in terrible conditions. His health is declining. Take action and demand freedom for Nasser now.

Nasser lived a peaceful life with his family in the Rif region of northern Morocco, an area struggling with poor healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. Year upon year the population has been marginalised by successive governments in Morocco.

Triggered by the death of a fishmonger who was crushed by a rubbish truck as he tried to recover fish unfairly confiscated by the authorities, in October 2016 peaceful protests began in Nasser’s town. Millions of people marched peacefully to express their sadness and frustration. They had had enough. They were demanding change. The Hirak El-Rif movement was born, and Nasser, a firm believer in justice and equality, became a prominent figure in the movement.

In the months that followed, Moroccan security forces arrested hundreds of protesters. On 29 May 2017, Nasser was arrested for interrupting a sermon at a mosque and accusing the Imam (Islamic prayer leader) of acting as a mouthpiece for the authorities. Whilst in custody, Nassar was subjected to torture and ill-treatment by police officers. On 27 June 2018, Nasser was sentenced to 20 years in prison, just for speaking out. Nasser was held in solitary confinement until 31 August 2018.

Forced to live in terrible conditions in prison, Nasser’s health deteriorated significantly. He’s suffering from serious respiratory and eyesight problems and nerve pain. The prison authorities have denied him the medical care he needs.

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