Supporters concerned over jailed Morocco historian's health

Supporters concerned over jailed Morocco historian's health
Supporters of jailed Moroccan historian Maati Monjib expressed concern over his health after he launched a hunger strike.
2 min read
Monjib was sentenced to one year in prison for fraud and undermining state security [AFP]

Supporters of a jailed Moroccan historian and rights activist expressed "serious concern" for his health on Wednesday, days after he began a hunger strike.

The support committee for 60-year-old Maatib Monjib "expresses its serious concern about the effects of (his) hunger strike on his health and on his life", it said in a statement.

Monjib was arrested in December after prosecutors said they had seized evidence of money transfers and real estate assets beyond the means of the historian and his family.

A Moroccan court sentenced him in January to one year in prison for fraud and undermining state security, as part of a trial that opened in 2015.

His defence team said they were not told about the hearing and Monjib purportedly was not in attendance.

Monjib launched the hunger strike to "protest against the injustice of which he has been victim", the committee statement said.

It renewed appeals for the immediate release of the "prisoner of conscience".

In a statement on Facebook in November saying he had contracted the novel coronavirus, Monjib said he also suffered from heart problems and diabetes.

He began his hunger strike last Thursday in order to draw attention to his situation since his "wrongful arrest", according to an earlier statement released by his supporters.

Rights group Amnesty International in January urged Morocco to release Monjib and drop all charges, saying the kingdom was on a "relentless quest" to curtail his right to freedom of expression and "bully him into submission".

The historian has said his "critical writing about the political system and the police, and my human rights activities" are at the root of his "persecution".

The DGAPR prison administration authority said in a statement that Monjib, incarcerated in the El Arjat prison near Rabat, had been "placed under medical monitoring" on Monday.

It said it had only been informed of Monjib's hunger strike that day, and disputed the hunger strike's start date.

The prison unsuccessfully "tried to persuade him to drop his action because of the impact on his health", the authority said in a statement Monday.

Moroccan judicial authorities have said Monjib received a "fair trial".

Agencies contributed to this report.

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