Wife of hunger-striking Moroccan appeals to French President Francois Hollande

Moroccan protesters hold up posters of Maati Monjib, a Moroccan professor of political history, to support him during a demonstration in the capital, Rabat, on Oct 21, 2015. The sign reads, "Even if you use repression, your intimidation is useless".
Moroccan protesters hold up posters of Maati Monjib, a Moroccan professor of political history, to support him during a demonstration in the capital, Rabat, on Oct 21, 2015. The sign reads, "Even if you use repression, your intimidation is useless". PHOTO: REUTERS

RABAT (AFP) - The wife of a prominent Moroccan academic and rights activist on Saturday (Oct 24) called on French President Francois Hollande to "save the life" of her husband on hunger strike for 18 days.

Maati Monjib, 55, was taken to hospital for emergency treatment in Rabat last week eight days into his protest at a travel ban against him.

"My husband is on hunger strike to demand an end to harassment and the ban on him leaving Moroccan territory," Christiane Darde-Monjib wrote in a letter to Hollande seen by AFP.

Monjib "is being targeted for his critical positions, especially since he was elected to head the Freedom Now association for the defence of press freedom," she wrote.

Monjib began his hunger strike on Oct 7 after airport authorities prevented him from travelling to Norway where he was due to attend a seminar.

The doctor following his case said Saturday that he was suffering from repeated heart palpitations and "severe headaches, symptoms that show his neurones have started to be affected".

In September, Monjib was summoned for questioning and also stopped from travelling to Barcelona.

The interior ministry has issued contradictory statements about the ban.

After first denying it, the ministry later confirmed the ban, saying it was due to "financial violations" while Monjib headed the Ibn Rushd Institute.

The research institute closed in 2014 after the authorities banned several of its activities including holding meetings between seculars and Islamists.

More than 50 Moroccan rights organisations and some 1,000 journalists, academics and activists have signed a petition in support of Monjib.