Independent investigation urged after death of protester in Morocco

Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into the death of a Moroccan protester, who has died after being beaten by security forces in the western town of Safi.Kamel Ammari, 30, was severely injured in clashes with security forces during a protest in the western town of Safi on 30 May, and died at the Mohamed V hospital on Thursday. “The Moroccan authorities must allow people to gather and protest peacefully as is their right under international law,” Amnesty International said. “Security forces must be given clear instructions to stop using excessive force to suppress peaceful protests,” the organisation said.The Moroccan authorities deny that Kamel Ammari’s death was related to the street protests but have initiated an investigation into his death. “This investigation must be thorough, independent and impartial – if Kamal Ammari is found to have died as a result of excessive force, those found responsible must be brought to justice.” An eyewitness told Amnesty International that Kamel Ammari was beaten by at least six security members while lying on the ground. He received injuries to his head, eyes and shoulder. The eyewitness told Amnesty International: “I saw them beating him but could not intervene to save him from the brutality of the security forces.”Despite his injuries, Kamal Ammari returned home after the incident as he feared he would be arrested if he went to hospital.His health deteriotated on 31 May and he was taken to a private clinic. He was transferred to Mohamed V hospital in Safi on 2 June where he died at around 2.30pm the same day. The Safi protest had been organised by the 20 February Movement, which calls for reform in Morocco, inspired by similar movements for change in the region. Before the demonstration started, security forces tried to prevent it by chasing the protesters, kicking them and beating them with truncheons.”The Moroccan authorities should stop the harassment and intimidation of protesters,” said Amnesty International.”Anyone arrested and detained for protesting peacefully should be released immediately.”Amnesty International continues to receive information that protesters treated in government-run hospitals have been denied copies of medical reports detailing their injuries, potentially obstructing their efforts to obtain justice and reparation.”The authorities should guarantee those injured in protests safe access to medical care and to be provided with the appropriate medical certificates to pursue their cases and obtain the reparation, “said Amnesty International.