What is it Like to be a Historian in Morocco? Meet Maati Monjib

Published March 9th, 2021 - 07:20 GMT
Maati Monjib, the Moroccan historian, journalist, and human rights defender, was working as a professor at l'Institut des Etudes Africaines, at Mohammed V University in Rabat.
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Maati Monjib, the Moroccan historian, journalist, and human rights defender, was working as a professor at l'Institut des Etudes Africaines, at Mohammed V University in Rabat.

Maati Monjib is a historian in Morocco, a rights activist and journalist who was arrested in December and then sentenced to one year in prison in January, is believed to kick off a hunger strike in prison according to his supporters and legal representative.

The 59-year-old Moroccan historian has likely started the hunger strike on Thursday, February 4th, 2021. However, the country’s prison authority denied this claim as a ‘false’ one.

According to his supporters, during the Arab Spring movement and the political battles over Morocco's democratic legacy. Monjib had taken risks everyday and began to share his knowledge about the country’s history and to support free speech. He, alongside several other activists and historians including Omar Radi, was trying to make their country better by researching old documents, history and committing to values of truth, justice, and freedom. 

Maati Monjib was sentenced to 1 year in jail by the Moroccan court for fraud and undermining state security. His defence team denied being told about these accusations and one of the accused purportedly did not show up at the hearing.

 

A thread on Moroccan historian Maati Monjib: 1/ I started reading his work on Moroccan political history over ten years ago, and I was overwhelmed with joy when I finally got to meet him in Rabat. His work and his insights made me a better researcher, and most importantly...

— Anna Jacobs (@AnnaLeaJacobs) March 6, 2021

Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have called on Moroccan authorities to immediately free Monjib from jail and drop all charges imposed against him, saying the kingdom was on a "relentless quest" to curtail his right to freedom of expression and "bully him into submission."

In 2017, Maati Monjib was reportedly targeted by Moroccan authorities using the infamous Israeli spyware Pegasus, which attempted to hack and spy on his mobile phone, according to the Middle East Eye.

Since the end of December, Moroccan historian and human rights defender #MaatiMonjib has been unjustly detained and denied due process, including a secret conviction from a case that dates back to 2015. #FreeMaati https://t.co/2sDoNUfs1E

— Seth Binder (@seth_binder) March 5, 2021

The Morrocan historian, who just celebrated his 59th birthday in prison, is suffering major health issues as activists fear for his life in jail especially after beginning the hunger strike.

Maati Monjib, the Moroccan historian, journalist, and human rights defender, was working as a professor at l'Institut des Etudes Africaines, at Mohammed V University in Rabat.


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