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Appeal court increases sentence for blogger Hassan Barhoun

A Moroccan court of appeal sentences blogger Hassan Barhoun to ten months instead of six

(ANHRI/IFEX) Cairo, April 15, 2009 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemns the harsh ruling by a Court of Appeal in the Moroccan city of Tetuan, on Monday 13 April, to increase the sentence on journalist and blogger Hassan Barhoun to ten months in prison instead of six, after he accused the public prosecutor of collusion in a corruption case.

Hassan Barhoun was arrested on February 26 and sentenced on March 6 to six-months in jail on charges of circulating false news, after he published a petition signed by more than 60 people, including activists, journalists and officials, accusing the King's deputy in Tetuan, the public prosecutor, of collusion in a corruption case. Instead of being interrogated about the article, Barhoun was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison. At the Court of Appeal, the sentenced was increased to ten months. It is worth mentioning that defense lawyers were not allowed to submit a plea during the trial's proceedings.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information says the harsh ruling against Barhoun is "part of series of free expression violations against critics who expose state corruption, while the Moroccan judiciary denies them any protection, increasing the burden on the brave journalists and bloggers in a country that is rapidly retreating to years of darkness and silence."

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