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Morocco: Street theatre artist Younes Benkhdim released

31 January 2020
Image: Younes Benkdhim / Omar Radi on Facebook

 

UPDATE

Moroccan street theatre artist Younes Benkhdim released 

Freemuse is pleased to hear about the release of Moroccan street theatre artist Younes Benkhdim.

Benkhdim was released on 30 January after his interview with the prosecutor. All charges were dropped except the “state of public inebriation” for which the artist has to appear before the court on 19 February. Benkdhdim faces up to six months in prison and a fine of 150 to 500 dirhams (15 to 50 €) or one of these two sentences only.

30 January 2020

Freemuse is concerned about street theatre artist and poet Younes Benkdhim’s arrest

Reports state that on 28 January, street theatre artist and poet Younes Benkdhim was arrested together with human rights and cultural activist Nabil Belkabir in Rabat, Morocco on charges of “illegal assembly” and “disturbance of public order” in “a state of inebriation” (a claim the artist denies).

The arrest happened during Benkdhim and Belkabir’s performance of Philosophy in the street, which was discussing the topic of “political detention in Morocco“. Benkdhim was further interrogated by the police and held in custody while Belkabir was released.

Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said that “Freemuse is concerned about the arrest of the artist and the situation of artistic freedom of expression in Morocco. The arrest of Youness Benkdhim for his peaceful performance is a violation of his right to freedom of artistic expression which is guaranteed under the Moroccan and international human rights law.”

According to reports, the artist allegedly refused to sign police documentation that he claimed contain fabricated charges.

“Organizing the activity of Philosophy in the street was a reaction to the repression imposed to all other forms of expression and protests, such as stops and marches,”said Belkabir after his release.

Younes Benkdhim co-founded the National Federation of Street Arts and began the Philosophy in the streets – a street performance opened for the debate with the public on different topics and ongoing issues taking place in the country.

A group of activists express their support towards Benkdhim on social media by declaring their discontent with the arrest. They are stressing the importance of human rights and calling on the Moroccan authorities to release Younes Benkdhim.

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