Dutch man arrested in Morocco over 'suspicious books'
Dutch-Moroccan man Mahmoud El Hajaji was arrested in the Moroccan city of Tangier on Friday for having "suspicious books" with him. He was released again on Saturday afternoon after seven hours of interrogation, NOS reports.
El Hajaji was in Morocco to visit his sick father. He was arrested while traveling through Tangier on his way back to Europe, because of "suspicious books" he was told. But during the police questioning, it turned out that his arrest was not about suspicious books at all, according to the broadcaster.
The Dutch-Moroccan man was questioned about posts he made on Facebook about protest movement Hirak and about his relationship with activists. Hirak is a protest movement in which Moroccans living in the Rif region demonstrate for more employment opportunities, better healthcare and education, and action against corruption in their region. Many Dutch-Moroccan people support the Hirak movement on social media.
The Tangier police questioned El Hajiji about the Berber Foundation, of which El Hajaji is a member, and about the Hirak movement. They were particularly interested to know more about activists in the Rif region, in the Netherlands and in Belgium, according to NOS. The Moroccan-Dutch man says that he was treated with respect. But police officers since visited his father to tell him that his son had been arrested.
Moroccans from the Rif region have been demonstrating since October 2016. Around a thousand demonstrators have been arrested since May last year, between 300 and 400 of whom are still in custody, according to the broadcaster. As far as is known, El Hajaji is the first Dutch-Moroccan to be arrested in connection with Hirak since the big protests.