Category Archives: North Africa

Fake Coastguards and Taxi Cabs Fuel Libya’s Migrant Trade

YAOUDE (CAMEROON) — “They hang you from the ceiling by (your) arms and legs and then throw you down to the floor”

Related image

A footage of African immigrants being traded as slaves in Libya

When uniformed men boarded the overloaded rubber dingy carrying Christelle Timdi and her boyfriend to a new life in Europe she thought the Italian coastguard had come to rescue them.

But the men took out guns and began to shoot. “Many people fell in the sea,” the 32-year-old Cameroonian said as she described seeing her boyfriend, Douglas, falling in the water and disappearing into the darkness.

The gunmen took Timdi and her fellow passengers back to Libya where they were locked up, raped, beaten and forced to make calls to their families back home for ransom payments to secure their freedom.

Timdi, who flew back to Cameroon last week, told her story as international outcry escalated over a video which appeared to show African migrants being traded as slaves in Libya.

allafrica.com reports

Morocco jails Frenchman for ‘terrorist’ links

Sal – A Moroccan appeals court has sentenced a Frenchman to four years in prison after he was convicted of financially supporting a “terrorist” cell, a case that has alarmed rights groups.

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Thomas Gallay, a 36-year-old engineer, was detained in February 2016 in the resort of Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast.

He was initially given six years in jail but the sentence was reduced on appeal by a court in Sale near Rabat on Wednesday evening.

International rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in November voiced concern about the case and what they called “convictions based on tainted ‘confessions’,” in Morocco.

“In Morocco, even if the police prevent you from reading your ‘confession’ or type it in a language you don’t understand – once you sign, you’re basically on an express train to prison,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

False confessions 

According to the Frenchman’s mother Beatrice Gallay, he was accused of giving 70 euros ($74) to an acquaintance involved in the case.

She said that her son had been convicted on the basis of “false confessions” that he was asked by police to sign in Arabic, even though he does not understand the language.

She said her son had not converted to Islam and had later denied making the purported confession.

The prosecutor argued in the final indictment that all procedures were carried out in accordance with the law, denouncing the “lies of the foreign press” about the case.

“Morocco faces the terrorism threat and the entire security apparatus is mobilised for this,” he added.

“Many foreigners are coming to Morocco to try to carry out attacks on behalf of Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Eight co-defendants also saw their convictions upheld and were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The above was originally published here

Morocco Rejoins African Union with Overwhelming Majority of AU Member Votes

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — An overwhelming majority of African Union (AU) member states voted on Monday to admit Morocco to the pan-African organization after a 33-year hiatus. The historic decision, in which 39 of 54 member states voted in favor, is a crowning achievement for Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s diplomatic goals and vision for the continent.

In a message to attendees of the 27 th African Union Summit in July last year, King Mohammed VI had said that “By returning to the African family, Morocco aims to keep up its commitment to Africa and strengthen its involvement in all matters it feels strongly about. Morocco pledges to make constructive contributions to the AU agenda and activities.”

“My country has been and always will be guided by an unshakable faith in Africa, in a continent which derives its strength from its economic riches and potential, which is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage, and which confidently looks to the future,” read the message.

Since ascending the throne in 1999, the King has made Africa a foreign policy priority, making 38 visits to African countries and signing more than 350 bilateral agreements on economic, political, security, religious, and educational issues. Morocco is the second largest African investor in the continent, and between 2003 and 2013, 51% of its foreign direct investment went to Sub-Saharan Africa, peaking at 88% in 2010; meanwhile, Moroccan trade with the rest of Africa increased by 12% annually in that same period. In late 2013 the King established a program to train imams from across the continent in Morocco’s open, moderate form of Islam; and in June 2016, inaugurated the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Oulema with a mission of strengthening age-old historical and religious ties between Morocco and its African neighbors. With Morocco serving as the host country, the King also ensured that Africa’s interests on climate change policy were represented at the 22 nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in Marrakesh in November 2016, hosting a special meeting for African leaders at the event.

“This is welcome news and the natural outcome of King Mohammed VI’s tireless commitment to enhancing Morocco’s strong ties in Africa,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “Since the King ascended the throne in 1999, Morocco has become a leader on existential issues for the continent, including countering violent extremism; climate change; trade and investment; social and economic development; and stability and security. Rejoining the AU will bolster those efforts and further cement Morocco’s bond with its African neighbors. I applaud the African Union for its historic decision.”

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

View source version on businesswire.com:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170130006210/en/

CONTACT: Moroccan American Center for Policy

Jordana Merran, 202-470-2049

jmerran@moroccanamericancenter.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA MOROCCO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AFRICA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT OTHER GOVERNMENT PUBLIC POLICY

SOURCE: Moroccan American Center for Policy

Copyright Business Wire 2017.

PUB: 01/30/2017 06:36 PM/DISC: 01/30/2017 06:36 PM

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