Morocco : German-Moroccan citizen arbitrarily detained and accused of terrorism

Arrested for the first time in July 2009 as he was travelling to Pakistan with Tablighi Jamaat, a religious organization for which he volunteered, Mr Mohammed Hajib was again arrested in Morocco last year and remains detained in inhumane conditions to date. He recently broadcasted a video in which he describes his experience of being condemned to ten years imprisonment on the basis of false declarations he was forced to sign under torture.
Mr Mohammed Hajib, aged 30 and father to three children, used to work as an entrepreneur in Germany, where he had previously completed his studies in Economics at Duisburg University. His 2009 trip to Pakistan aimed to broaden his knowledge of Islam and to learn about Tablighi Jamaat's methods of work. However, as he arrived in Pakistan, one of his sons living in Morocco fell sick. He immediately decided to interrupt his trip to return to see him, but as he reached the Iranian border, the Pakistani security forces proceeded to search the bus he was in, and ordered him to get out of the vehicle. He was then taken by force in the agents' car and imprisoned at the border for five days, following which he was brought to Quetta, Pakistan along with other detainees.

Despite not being charged for any precise motives, Mr Hajib was detained in Quetta for six months in difficult conditions, which led him to undergo a hunger strike in protest on 3 January 2010. A few days later, he was released without being presented to a judge; a senior Pakistani police officer informed him no charges were held against him, while not explaining why he had been arrested and detained. On 17 February 2010, he landed in Frankfurt where he made a quick stopover before heading to Morocco on the same day.

As he got off the plane in Casablanca, Mr Hajib was again arrested by five men, immediately handcuffed and brought by force to El Maarif Police Station where he was tortured. His family, who had come to the airport to welcome him back, attempted to obtain information on his whereabouts. It was only four days later that the judicial police contacted Mr Hajib's parents and authorized them to visit their son. However, when they visited El Maarif Police Station, they were only allowed to leave him clean clothing but could not visit or even see Mr Hajib.

Mr Hajib remained detained in these conditions for twelve days, following which he was brought before a judge of the Court of Sale, on the ground of his alleged participation in terrorist groups. During his hearing, Mr Hajib explained to the magistrate that he had been tortured and threatened with his wife's rape if he did not sign a false confession, but the judge ignored his statements.

Despite Mr Hajib's file being empty of formal charges, he was put in preventive detention at the Prison of Sale. In protest at the unjust trial he was facing, he started a hunger strike on 10 May 2010. However, on 24 June, after forty-six days of hunger strike, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for fighting against the American and Pakistani armies in Afghanistan. This was despite the fact that no material evidence was presented by the prosecution and no inquiry was opened into the allegations of torture Mr Hajib made to the court.

On 17 May 2011, Mr Hajib was transferred to Toulal Prison following the many strikes that affected Moroccan prisons in May this year. He was detained there for fifteen days incommunicado and severely tortured. Fifteen days after his return in Sale Prison, he attempted suicide. According to his family, Mr Hajib is still subjected to acts of torture to date.

It is clear from the facts above that the multiple arrests and detentions Mr Hajib was subjected to is due to his religious opinions and his volunteer work for Tablighi Jamaat. This pacifist religious movement is sometimes associated with terrorism because of its proselytizing and ties with Pakistan.

In light of these severe human rights violations, Alkarama submitted Mr Hajib's case to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as to the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, request their intervention on his behalf. Alkarama will continue to follow up on Mr Hajib's situation and inform these Special Procedures of the evolution of his situation.

Alkarama also calls on the Moroccan authorities to immediately cease all torture and mis-treatment of Mr Hajib, and release him immediately, ensure that he is provided with reparations for his treatment in prison, investigate the torture allegations he has raised and ensure those found responsible are brought to justice. More generally, Morocco should ensure that it respects its international human rights obligation.