Paris (AFP)

The NGO Reporters Without Borders called on Friday for the "urgent" release of journalist and historian Maâti Monjib, imprisoned in Morocco for three months and on hunger strike since March 4, during a symbolic action in front of the Moroccan embassy in Paris.

A dozen people had gathered at midday in the 16th arrondissement, brandishing 16 signs on the "16th day of the hunger strike" started by the Franco-Moroccan intellectual to denounce "his abusive arrest" at the end of 2020 .

"Day 1: Gastric spasms", "Day 6: headaches", "Day 16: delusions" ... Each panel represents each "step of an increasingly great danger", explained the secretary general of RSF Christophe Deloire.

Maâti Monjib, 59 years old according to the details of his wife Christiane Dardé-Monjib, "is starting to be very tired", said the latter, "worried for her health".

Especially since he "is diabetic" and suffers from "cardiac arrhythmia".

"I do not understand the silence of the French authorities," she lamented, like the French support committee for her husband.

"There is urgency", added Mr. Deloire, denouncing an "arbitrary imprisonment at the end of an absolutely unfair procedure".

A human rights activist, the journalist is being held in El Arjat prison, near Rabat.

He was arrested on December 29 in an investigation for "money laundering", facts which he disputes.

This opponent was at the same time sentenced to one year in prison on January 27 for "fraud" and "endangering state security" after a trial opened in 2015. This concerned accusations of embezzlement in management of a center he had created to promote, in particular, investigative journalism.

His lawyers and his support committee were outraged that the judgment was handed down in his absence, without summoning his defense, when the Moroccan judicial authorities claim that he was given a "fair trial".

"The Kingdom of Morocco is 133rd" out of 180 countries in the RSF press freedom ranking, "five journalists" being detained there "for abusive reasons," said Mr. Deloire.

A French citizen, Mr. Monjib lodged a complaint last week in Paris for arbitrary detention.

Already in 2015, "banned from leaving" Moroccan territory, he "had stopped eating" for about twenty days, obtaining the "lifting of this ban", recalls RSF.

© 2021 AFP