An organizer of Spain's 15th La Mar de Músicas (Sea of Music) world music festival has resigned, after festival authorities acceded to Moroccan embassy demands to withdraw invitations to two Moroccan dissidents opposed to the rule of King Mohamed VI.

Lola López Mondéjar, who quit after festival director Francisco Martín withdrew invitations to the two critics, says "the [embassy] pressure amounts to unjustifiable interference, inadmissible censorship, and an attack on freedom of expression."

Morocco, which is just across the narrow Gibraltar Straits water from the southern Spanish coast, is the guest country at this year's three-week music, art, cinema and literature festival to be held in July in the south-east port city of Cartagena. More than 400 musicians from 20 countries played at last year's event, when France was the guest country. La Mar de Músicas is regarded at one of Europe's most important world music festivals.

Among the Moroccan representatives invited by the organizers to participate in the festival's literary section, La Mar de Letras, were Nadia Yassin, spokesperson for Justice and Charity, the main Islamic movement in Morocco, and Ali Lmrabet, a journalist imprisoned in 2003 for insulting Mohamed VI.

The festival dispute became public when López Mondéjar, a writer and coordinator of La Mar de Letras, resigned after festival director Francisco Martín acceded to embassy demands.

"The festival is organised in collaboration with the embassy of the guest country, which helps us materially," Martín said.

"The embassy was not pleased about the presence of these two people," he added, "and we thought it would be inconvenient to have a diplomatic conflict."

The dispute arose when a Moroccan delegation, headed by cultural attaché Amin Chaoudri, met in Cartagena with Martín and city council culture councillor Rosario Montero on Feb. 6 to prepare the festival.

Justice and Charity spokesperson Yassin has been tried on several occasions, but never been imprisoned. She has appeared at conferences across Europe and in U.S. universities. Lmrabet was the editor of two Moroccan satirical magazines that were closed by authorities.