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Morocco Moroccan lawyer El Bouchtaoui convicted

30 Mar 18 

Lawyers for Lawyers and The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister of Morocco regarding the recent conviction of Moroccan lawyer Abdessadeq El Bouchtaoui. On 8 February, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison by the Al Hoceima court in first instance. 

His conviction is, among other things, based on charges of "insulting public officials," "contempt of judicial decisions," and "inviting people to participate in a prohibited demonstration." It appears that Mr. El Bouchtaoui's conviction is connected to his legal representation of the Al-Hoceima activists and his criticism on Facebook regarding the Al-Hoceima demonstrations. According to the information received, the public prosecution used Facebook posts as evidence, many of which were critical of the government due to police violently suppressing the demonstrations. 

The CCBE and Lawyers for Lawyers have reason to believe that this conviction is connected to Mr. El Bouchtaoui's professional activities as a lawyer. Therefore, we called on the Moroccan authorities to immediately release Mr. El Bouchatoui. In addition, CCBE and Lawyers for Lawyers asked the Prime Minister to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of lawyers in Morocco as well as their ability to perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment.