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Journalists, Activists Face Controversial Trial in Morocco

FILE - Moroccan historian and journalist Maati Monjib standing outside the local headquarters of a human rights group in Rabat, Morocco.

Seven journalists and activists are facing trial in Morocco in a case widely criticized by human rights groups as politically motivated.

Five of the activists face charges of “threatening national security” in Thursday's trial, including Maati Monjib, a historian who went on hunger strike twice this year in protest of a travel ban.

Authorities made some reforms to appease a protest movement known as the Feb. 20 movement in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings in nearby countries, but in recent years have been cracking down on critics, including independent journalists, Feb. 20 activists and independent non-governmental organizations, especially those with foreign funding.

The Moroccan government did not respond to requests for comment on the trial.