The kingdom is “using the opportunity to present a false image,” said former AMDH president and winner of the U.N. Human Rights Prize, Khadija Riyadi. “We want to say to the international press that this image isn’t true. We want a dialogue [with the government], but we don’t want the international community to recognize advancements that don’t exist. Quite the contrary — we are regressing.” Moroccan Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid did not respond to interview requests.
In 2011, amid the rise of the nation’s February 21st movement, named for the date people took to the streets, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI oversaw a constitutional referendum that ostensibly aimed to devolve absolute power from the throne to elected officials. Western media lauded the project, but activists like Riyadi charge that after a series of politically charged prosecutions of dissidents — including artists and journalists — it is clear that the government continues to defend the crown at the expense of civil liberties.
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