Moroccan Authorities Detain 5 Leaders of 2 Islamic Parties

Moroccan Authorities Detain 5 Leaders of 2 Islamic Parties

Moroccan security services launched on Monday evening and Tuesday a sweep of arrests that included activists of two Islamic, Al Badil Al Hadari Islamic party and the Nation Party along with activists in several other leftist parties.

The security services arrested Mostafa Al Mutasem, the Secretary-General of Al Badil Al Hadari and Mohamed Al Rakala, the party”s spokesman. Also detained were Marwani Mohamed, the Secretary-General of the non- licensed Nation Party and his former deputy Maoul Ainein, who has recently joined the Justice and Development Party (PJD) after winning in the last legislative elections. The authorities arrested also the party member Abdul Hafiz Al Seriti, who is currently working also as a correspondent of Al Manar channel in Morocco.

According to official statements, Mostafa Al Mutasem, Mohamed Al Rakala and Mohamed Al Marwani were reportedly detained after arresting a group of 23 memers affiliated to the Salafist Jihadist trend “preparing for carrying out terrorist acts in Morocco”.

“The security services managed to arrest a terrorist network affiliated to the jihadist trend. It was preparing for carrying out terrorist acts inside the country”, said the statements adding that these 23 elements, including their leader Abdul Qader Blirag, are under a provisional arrest.

Some Moroccan analysts raised their eyebrows why members affiliated to an Islamic party that adopts a peaceful method of change, and leftist activists face charges of adopting the jihadist approach, specially that the Justice and Charity group and the Justice and Development Party reject such hardline trends.

These leaders were arrested against a backdrop of sharp criticisms which they directed to the political process in Morocco, specially after the violations which were committed in the last elections, said analysts. Mohamed al Marwani published studies in several issues of the daily Al Masaa in which he analysed why people”s political interest dropped during the last elections, while Mostafa Al Mutasem called, in several articles, for a national charter that gathers Islamists, democrats and leftists to fight exclusion and extremism. He published also an article entitled “to whom it may concern” on Feb, 11th, 2008 and was posted on his party”s web site .

The detained political leaders are known for peaceful political struggle. Al Badil Al Hadari was given a license to go public in 2006 and it participated in the last elections but it it didn”t garner any seat, while the Nation Party has submitted a demand for a icense since November 2006 but was denied this by the Moroccan Ministry of Interior. However, it is still launching a human rights battle to receive this right.