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Student activist arrested for criticising authorities

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI calls on the Moroccan authorities to release Jadda Boubkar, a 22-year-old student and prisoner of opinion, who was arrested while leaving the university in Taza City on 21 July 2008 because of his student activity, his support for the boycott of complementary legislative elections and his criticism of educational policies and police repression against students.

The imprisoned student was interrogated on 26 July and again on 6 August. He was questioned about his membership in the Democratic Route (La Voie Democratique) and his student activism. In his answers, he stated that his right to belong to the Democratic Route and his student activism are part of his right to hold opinions and communicate them.

The investigating judge decided to postpone proceedings until 13 August. This delay will keep Boubkar in detention and is believed to be punishment for his criticism of the faculty administration's cooperation with political police, and especially the administration's provision to the police of students' personal information, including their political orientation.

"In democratic countries, a person may face imprisonment for committing a crime and breaking the law, but in Morocco a person may be imprisoned for having opinions and expressing them peacefully, which is an attribute of despotic regimes," said Gamal Eid, executive director of ANHRI.

ANHRI demands that the Moroccan government release Jadda Boubkar immediately, put an end to police repression and guarantee the right to peaceful protest and free expression.

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