Controversial Feminist and Atheist Ibtissam Lachgar Arrested in Rabat

Moroccan feminist and atheist activist Ibtissam Lachgar — known for activism on behalf of abortion rights and LBGTQ equality — was arrested in Rabat on August 17, 2018, allegedly for public drinking, according to the Washington Post.

The arrest is eerily reminiscent of that of the Hirak leadership and the sentencing of Nasser Zefzafi for allegedly disturbing the peace and undermining state security after interrupting an imam during a prayers.

There are few more fundamental political rights than freedom of expression, and the Kingdom would be well-served to respect it. It is fundamental to any sound decisions regarding public policy, and a prerequisite to being able to justly and properly resolve other fundamental questions regarding the rights of gay people, women, and the LGBTQ community. What cannot be discussed cannot be decided, and what cannot be criticized cannot be reformed. Ms. Lachgar is unquestionably a controversial figure in Morocco, but it is precisely speech that people find objectionable that most needs to be protected.

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