Watchdog slams increased jail sentence for Morocco journalist

2017-09-13 19:45
Morocco flag. (iStock)

Morocco flag. (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rabat - Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) voiced alarm on Wednesday after a Moroccan court increased the prison sentence of a journalist to one year for inciting an unauthorised protest.

Hamid El Mahdaoui, who heads the Badil online news site, was arrested in July at the start of a banned demonstration in the restive northern city of Al-Hoceima.

He was initially sentenced to three months in jail after being found guilty of helping to organise "an unauthorised march" and having "invited" others to take part, according to his website.

On Tuesday an appeals court prolonged his prison term by nine months.

RSF denounced the "incomprehensive" verdict and said it was "appalled" by El Mahdaoui's increased sentence.

RSF called on Morocco to drop the charges against the journalist and to release him as soon as possible, saying he was only doing his job and that the court had video footage proving his innocence.

And quoting his wife, the watchdog said El Mahdaoui had started a hunger strike to denounce the ruling against him.

In July RSF issued a scathing statement accusing Moroccan authorities of preventing journalists from covering months of unrest and protests in the neglected northern Rif region, particularly in Al-Hoceima.

Moroccan authorities denied the accusations.

El Mahdaoui, who was also fined $2 120 in July, is also accused of "undermining state security" and must appear before court on October 2.

If found guilty on that charge he risks being jailed for up to five years, said RSF.

The Rif protests erupted last October after a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated for being caught out of season.

Demands for justice later snowballed into a wider social movement named Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, calling for jobs, development and an end to graft.

El Mahdaoui is active on social media and known for his criticism of the government.

Read more on:    morocco  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.