April 28, 2020 / 8:06 PM / a month ago

Morocco rejects accusation of police abuse in enforcing lockdown

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco rejected allegations of police brutality in enforcing a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after an official in the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights included it in a list of countries where crackdowns had raised concern.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has accused governments of using emergency powers invoked over the coronavirus “to quash dissent, control the population, and even perpetuate their time in power”.

Bachelet did not name any countries. But at a news conference in Geneva, Georgette Gagnon, director of field operations for the U.N. High Commissioner’s office, included Morocco among 15 countries she identified where police actions in enforcing lockdown measures were deemed most troubling.

Morocco’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said in a statement that measures Morocco had adopted to contain the coronavirus were in line with “the rule of law in full respect of human rights”.

“False information on alleged violations shared by some media are unfounded and were not mentioned in any official document of the High Commission for Human Rights,” it said.

Moroccan police have registered nearly 77,000 violations of measures to contain the coronavirus and nearly 41,000 people are awaiting trial for this, a Moroccan source said. Prosecutors said 5% of them are in detention.

Morocco has confirmed 4,252 cases of the coronavirus, including 165 deaths.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Peter Graff

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