Abdelhakim is a French citizen of Moroccan heritage. In October 2020 he produced a video discussing the issue of a professor showing a blasphemous image of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at a public secondary school. He was arrested by police and has been held in solitary confinement ever since. He has not been charged with any crime. 

Under the French anti-terror legislation, he could be detained – without being charged – for up to 4 years. 

He has been interrogated by authorities 3 times since his arrest, questions exclusively revolve around his political views and his religion. Nothing relevant to the case.


Abdelhakim Sefrioui is a French citizen of Moroccan heritage. He’s a father of three, a grandfather and a widely respected community figure. 

He was a professor and is most well known for his activism in defending the palestine cause and the palestinian people. 

He created an organisation in remembrance of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas called the ‘Cheikh Yassine Collective’: Through this collective he organised and participated in countless pro-Palestinian protests in Paris and in activities in support of the Palestinian people in France. 

Abdelhakim is also an open critic of the French government’s Islamophobic policies and targetting of Muslim organisaitions. 

Attempt to defuse the Samuel Paty incident:

In October 2020, Abdelhakim attempted to intervene and facilitate constructive discussion between Paty’s school and Muslim parents. 

Professor Samuel Paty had shown his students, many of which were Muslim, a defamatory, inapproptiate and insulting image claiming to be of prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). 

Abdelhakim’s offer to mediate between the Muslim parents and the school was turned down by the school. As a result Abdelhakim recorded a video testimony of his attempts.

Video testimony

Following the rejection from the school, Abdelhakim published a video on his social media where he outlined his attempts to defuse the situation and peacefully criticised the act of blasphemy that took place in a public secondary school. 

Speaking to the parents in the video, Abdelhakim asked them to take an active interest in what their children are being taught. He also called upon the school to suspend Samuel Paty. He also made mention of wider repression of Muslims in France and how this all fits together.

Arrest and shutdown of ‘Cheikh Yassine Collective

The murder of Samuel Paty on the 16th October 2020 by an individual actor, who was neither a parent or a student at the school, caused nationwide horror. The government seized on this moment to punish those who spoke out against Paty’s actions.

Abdelhakim was arrested the next day, on ​​17th October 2020 under the allegation of ‘complicity to a terrorist murder’. He and 15 others were arrested and detained without charge, including some children. He is still being detained, over a 1 year and a half on and counting, which means he is neither charged nor has he been put to trial.

Under the French anti-terror legislation, you can be detained without charge or trial for up to 4 years. The extended ‘pre-trial detention’ in France has been criticised by the global criminal justice watchdog, Free Trials.

His organisation, the Cheikh Yassine Collective was immediately closed down by the government on 21st October 2020. This would be part of an acceleration of state forced closures against active Muslim organisations that included leading charity Baraka City and anti Islamophobia NGO, CCIF.

Conditions of imprisonment

In the last year and a half, he has only been interrogated by the authorities 3 times. The line of questioning exclusively revolves around his beliefs and political opinions. This demonstrates that his arrest and continued imprisonment without charge or trial is vindictive for highlighting the offensive actions of Samuel Paty.

Abdelhakim continues to be held in solitary confinement with little access to external visits. Prolonged solitary confinement is recognised as a form of torture by the United Nations.

He was also deprived of his medication during the first 5 months of his imprisonment.

Collective punishment 

On 26 March 2022 Abdelhakim’s son was arrested by the French authorities, questioned and detained for 5 days. Overall, 5 raids targeting Abdelhakim’s family took place on that day. 

Legal challenge 

Abdelhakim’s lawyers have submitted a complaint to the Courts and his hearing will take place on 12 April 2022, where the judge will decide whether his detention will end or be extended for a further 6 months. 

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)