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06RABAT2253 2006-12-13 15:15:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Rabat
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1. This cable is sensitive but unclassified, please protect

2. (U) On December 8, the families of 350 Islamist
prisoners staged a demonstration in front of the Consultative
Council for Human Rights (CCDH) offices in Rabat. The
demonstration was organized by the Annasir ("helper")
organization which works with the families and had attempted
to have the prisoners' cases reviewed by the Ministry of
Justice. The families demanded that the prisoners be
"re-tried" or released from prison. CCDH, a
royally-appoited body with a fair degree of influence, was
then having one of its periodic board meetings, so it is
possible the protest could have been heard by council
members. Some of the prisoners are on hunger strike and all
say that their families are suffering because of their
incarceration. Approximately 370 Islamists are held under
the 2003 anti-terrorism law. They are imprisoned in eleven
different prisons. Police stood on the outskirts but did not

3. (SBU) Poloff observed this demonstration. Approximately
one hundred women and some children participated. The
participants grouped themselves on the steps of the CCDH
building; some of the participants carried signs and many had
pictures of the prisoners.
The women chanted: "God is great; God is merciful." The
demonstration created little interest for passers-by.

4. (SBU) All of the women were dressed conservatively with
scarves and long robes ("thobes"); several of the women were
veiled ("naqab") and many others were dressed in black
"abbayas" (outer cloaks), scarves, veils and gloves. With
many women completely covered, it was clear that the women
adhered to a strict, fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

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