Historian Maâti Monjib on Hunger Strike Since October 6
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
Maâti Monjib is a political historian at the University of Mohammed V-Rabat. Born in Morocco, he got his first PhD in France in North African politics and another in Senegal in African political history. He is a member of the Institut des Études Africaines (IEA; Institute for African Studies) in Rabat and has, since early 2014, been the chairman of the NGO Freedom Now–Comité pour la protection de la liberté de la presse et d’expression and the Association marocaine de journalisme d’investigation (AMJI; Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism). He is the author of La Monarchie marocaine et la lutte pour le pouvoir: Hassan II face à l'opposition nationale (The Moroccan Monarchy and the Struggle for Power: Hassan II Facing the National Opposition) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1992), A Political Biography of Mehdi Ben Barka, with Z. Daoud (Paris: Éditions Michalon, 1996–2000) and the editor of Islamists Versus Secularists in Morocco, ed. (Amsterdam: IKV, 2009).
A long campaign of harassment and intimidation was waged against him, including threats and defamatory articles in newspapers and on news sites. The incidences are as follows:
He founded and directed the Ibn Rochd Center for Studies and Communication in Rabat, which trained hundreds of Moroccan journalists in investigative techniques and civic journalism. In December 2014, he had to shut down the institute after repeated interference from the state.
On 31 August 2015, he was detained briefly at the airport when returning from France. He was told that he was under investigation for “endangering state security.”
On 14 September 2015, he was interrogated and accused of tarnishing Morocco’s image abroad, using foreign funds to promote a foreign agenda and destabilizing citizens’ allegiance to their institutions. His associates were also questioned.
On 16 September 2015, he went on hunger strike for the first time after being barred from leaving Morocco for a conference in Barcelona. The IEA board refused to give him permission to travel to Norway to attend two academic events related to his expertise.
On 6 October 2015, he went on hunger strike again to protest restrictions against his freedom of movement and his academic freedom.