Three newspaper editors get prison sentences for allegedly inciting violence

first_img April 15, 2021 Find out more NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say Hunger strike is last resort for some imprisoned Moroccan journalists April 28, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders today criticised the prison terms ranging from one to three years passed on three journalists by a Rabat court on 4 August for “incitement to violence,” calling for the immediate release of one of the three who is already in jail, and voicing the hope that all three sentences will be quashed on appeal.Mohammed el Hourd, managing editor of the weekly Asharq (which is based in the northeastern city of Oujda), was sentenced to three years. He has been detained since 13 June. Abdelmajid Ben Tahar, Asharq’s editor in chief, and Mustapha Kechnini, managing editor of another Oujda-based weekly, Al Hayat al Maghribia, were both sentenced to one year. Like El Hourd, Ben Tahar and Kechnini were detained on the public prosecutor’s orders on 13 June but, unlike El Hourd, they were released provisionally on 10 July. At the end of the trial, the court also banned the two weeklies for three months.The three journalists were convicted for publishing a statement by an Islamist, Zakkaria Boughrara, praising the actions of the “jihad movement in Morocco.” The statement appeared in Al Hayat al Maghribia on 5 May and in Asharq on 5 June. A justice ministry official said they were prosecuted under the press law.Boughrara was himself sentenced in the same trial to 10 years in prison for incitement to violence. The court had rejected a request by the lawyers for the three journalists for them to tried separately from Boughrara.Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said today that no one questioned the Moroccan authorities’s legitimate efforts to combat terrorism, but he urged them “not to lump journalists and fundamentalists together, as was the case in this trial.”Ménard said journalists should recognize the need to exercise special care because of the efforts to combat terrorism, but at the same time, the authorities had set “a dangerous precedent” by imposing prison sentences for the publication of statements that could be interpreted in very diverse ways.In an earlier case, Mustapha Alaoui, managing editor of the Arabic-language weekly Al Ousboue, was given a one-year suspended sentence on 11 July as a result of publishing a statement by a hitherto unknown organisation called Assaiqa claiming responsibility for three of the five bombings in Casablanca on 16 May. He was convicted of “concealment of a document likely to assist a criminal investigation and publishing false information likely to disturb the peace.” He was released on 12 July after being held since 5 June, shortly after the issue containing the statement appeared on the news stands. Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa Follow the news on Morocco / Western Sahara News Organisation Newscenter_img RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance Receive email alerts News to go further News June 8, 2021 Find out more August 6, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Three newspaper editors get prison sentences for allegedly inciting violence RSF_en Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa last_img

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