(Reuters) - A Moroccan judge on Tuesday ordered the provisional release of dissident writer and rights activist Maati Monjib, who was held in custody pending an investigation into money-laundering allegations, in a case that has worried rights defenders.
His release was confirmed by his lawyer Mohamed Messaoudi.
Monjib has been on a hunger strike since March 4, triggering a wave of solidarity by rights groups in Morocco and abroad calling for his release.
A university historian who writes frequent newspaper editorials, Monjib has often criticised Morocco’s record on freedom of expression and human rights.
In late December, a judge ordered Monjib to be taken into custody pending an investigation in a case of laundering foreign funds relating to his management of a research centre in Rabat. Monjib denied the charges.
A month later, he was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of endangering internal state security and fraud, in a case dating back to 2015. His lawyers said they appealed the verdict.
A national solidarity committee with Monjib, composed of Moroccan rights NGOs and prominent activists, said his arrest was “arbitrary”.
Moroccan authorities have often denied waging a campaign against free speech, saying the police and courts are just implementing national laws.
Earlier this month, a group of Moroccan rights NGOs described the increasing use of pre-trial detention as a human rights violation.
Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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