SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 17, 2015

Attack Types: Prosecution | Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):University of Mohammed V-Rabat

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Morocco

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 16, 2015, Professor Maâti Monjib, a Moroccan historian and journalist and the head of the Ibn Rushd Institute for Investigative Journalism — which provides training to Moroccan journalists — was reportedly prevented from leaving the country to attend a conference on political change, after being informed that he was being investigated on charges including threatening state security.

According to reports, Professor Monjib learned that he was being investigated on August 31, 2015, when he was briefly detained at the airport upon returning from a trip to France. On September 14, 2015, he was reportedly questioned by prosecutors in connection with allegations including “tarnishing the country’s image abroad.”  Professor Monjib had planned on traveling to Spain on September 16, but was taken into custody in the airport, briefly detained, and learned at that time that a travel ban had been issued against him.  Professor Monjib reportedly began a hunger strike on September 17, 2015, to protest the travel ban.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about apparent restriction on a scholar’s mobility based on the content of his work. State and university authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and not to interfere with a scholar’s research, teaching, publication and other expressive activity, regardless of where it is undertaken, so long as that activity is undertaken peacefully and responsibly.

Updates: On October 13, 2015, Professor Monjib collapsed, apparently from complications related to his hunger strike, which was still ongoing.  He was hospitalized as a result.

On October 29, 2015, Professor Monjib reportedly ended his hunger strike, after the travel ban against him was lifted.  As of this update, he is reportedly scheduled to appear in court on November 19, 2015, along with four co-defendants, on charges of “threatening the internal security of the State,” which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.