Joint Statement over upcoming hearing in the case of M’hamed Hali’s arbitrary legal licence denial
14 juni 2024

Joint Statement over upcoming hearing in the case of M’hamed Hali’s arbitrary legal licence denial


Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, Front Line Defenders, the International Service for Human Rights and NOVACT express their concerns over the situation of Sahrawi human rights defender M`hamed Hali, who has been arbitrarily deprived of his right to practice as a lawyer in the Moroccan judicial system due to opinions expressed in support of the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.


The undersigned organisations express concerns over the case of Mhamed Hali, a human rights defender affiliated with the League for the Protection of Sahrawi Political Prisoners (LPPS) and the Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations (ASVDH). Despite meeting all legal criteria, Mr. Hali’s application to join the Agadir Bar Association was rejected in February 2020, based on allegations from Moroccan intelligence of separatist opinions for Western Sahara. The undersigned organisations are concerned about this decision’s discriminatory nature, violating Mr. Hali’s freedom of expression and sets a dangerous precedent for the independence of lawyers in Morocco generally, and for Sahrawi lawyers in particular, which will therefore affect the right to defence for Sahrawi individuals, in particular Sahrawi human rights defenders.

Mr. Hali’s appeal had been pending for three years before the Moroccan Court of Cassation, an unusually long time, before being suddenly reactivated in May 2024, with a hearing scheduled for 27 June 2024. The rejection of his application reflects a broader pattern of persecution against Sahrawi human rights defenders, documented by UN Human Rights Mechanisms.

We urge Morocco to ensure Mr. Hali receives a fair trial and to end its crackdown on civil society, particularly Sahrawi human rights defenders. The international community must take urgent action to support Mr. Hali and others ahead of the hearing on 27 June 2024.

We urge Morocco to ensure that Mhamed Hali is granted the right to a fair trial and that his right to freedom of expression is respected. We underscore that lawyers, as other citizens, are entitled to the right to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.

We also urge Morocco to put an end to its crackdown on civil society, particularly Sahrawi human rights defenders in the occupied territory, including Sahrawi jurists and lawyers, and to ensure they are able to conduct their human rights work without risk of reprisals and judicial harassment.

As recommended by the Independent Expert on international solidarity (A/HRC/56/57) “States should eliminate the criminalization of international solidarity expressions and symbols and calls for accountability for violations of public international law norms, such as calls for peace, self-determination or decolonization […]”, referring to the case of Western Sahara.

With this call, we also invite other organizations concerned with the safety of human rights defenders, jurists and lawyers to take urgent action prior to the hearing of 27 June 2024.


To read the full statement click here.

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