Morocco: Pro-Democracy Activists to March on Secret Detention Center

This Sunday, May 15, Moroccan pro-democracy activists are planning to march on a detention center, located in the region of Temara, in the outskirts of the capital Rabat.

Many prisoners, mostly Islamists, allege they have been detained and tortured in the center, which is also believed to be part of a network of so-called Black Sites, used by the CIA to interrogate international terrorist suspects.

One of those who transited by the center of Temara, or Guantemara as now pro-democracy activists call it, is Bouchta Charef, whose moving account of the abuses he says he faced in the detention facility, was posted on Youtube (see video here).

The government denies the existence of any secret detention facility in the kingdom but activists say the practice of torture in Morocco and the existence of such centers should no longer be in doubt.

Using mapping technology, Moroccan news portal mamfakinch.com was able to accurately locate the secret detention center in Temara. Surprisingly it is much closer to residential areas than one would think.

(View on Google Earth)

The youth movement known as February 20, has released the following statement:

The February 20th movement -Rabat- has decided to organize a picnic in front of the secret detention center in Temara, as part of a day of action against secret detention, including a sit-in. By this action, the movement claims the judgement of responsible for torture and serious violations of human rights.

As I’m writing this post, 556 people said they will attend the picnic and sit-in in Temara on Sunday according to this Facebook page.

Morocco’s recent history is marked by a series of violations of human rights. During the autocratic rule of late king Hassan II many Moroccans were victims of arbitrary detentions and torture. The infamous prison of Tazmamart in particular stands as the symbol of that period known as the Years of Lead. Many Moroccans don’t want to see the horrors of the past repeated.

To follow on-the-hour coverage of the march today stay tuned to Mamfakinch.

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