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Moroccan journalist Mustafa Al-Hasnawi jailed for 3 years

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) strongly condemns the Moroccan Appeal Court's decision on 28 October 2013 to jail journalist and human rights activist Mustafa Al-Hasnawi for three years considering it a blow to press freedom at the hands of the Moroccan judiciary. Al-Hasnawi was sentenced to four years initially but his sentence was then reduced.

Al-Hasnawi is well-known for advocating for the rights of Islamist detainees. He was summoned for questioning on 16 May 2013 by the National Brigade of the Judicial Police. The brigade detained him and called his family to inform them that he will be detained for investigation. The journalist was accused of terrorism and referred to the Appeal's Court, which ordered on 11 July that he be jailed for four years.

Al-Hasnawi's defense lawyer challenged the sentence leading to a reduction of his sentence to three years according to a court order.

"This decision is a strong blow to press freedom in Morocco. It makes us worry about freedom of the press in terms of the vague employment of the term terrorism by the Moroccan authorities to silence journalists," said ANHRI.

The investigating judge in terrorism cases at the Appeal Court in Salé decided, on 24 October, to release prominent journalist Ali Anzoula, chief editor of the news site Lakome, due to his health condition. The journalist is still standing trial for terrorism charges and may be jailed for several years.

ANHRI expressed its concern over the extreme and escalating hostility with which Morocco is addressing press freedom issues.

ANHRI warns the Moroccan authorities to end their hostility against freedoms and their broad definition of the term "terrorism" used in facing opinion makers in the country. ANHRI demands that the authorities end all journalists' trials as well as to drop all charges against them, in addition to releasing journalist Mustafa Al-Hasnawi.

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