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Court sentences journalist to 3 months in prison for “inciting” people to protest

The court, on Tuesday sentenced a journalist to three months in prison for “inciting” people to protest.

The  Moroccan ourt sentenced the Journalist for inciting people to protest in the north-eastern city of Al Hoceima.

“Hamid El Mehdaoui, an editor of news site Badil.info, was arrested in Al Hoceima after a speech to a crowd in the city, in which he encouraged the masses to take part in the banned July 20 protest.

“After a 15-hour trial, El Mahdaoui was convicted of “inciting people to commit misdemeanours through speech in a public place,’’ local authorities said.

The Public Prosecutor in Al Hoceima announced his arrest on July 20, the protest day.

In a statement following his arrest, the prosecutor said the speech was “incompatible with journalism as a profession dealing with collecting information and facts or investigating them in a professional way in order to write or make media material.”

On July 20, police in Al Hoceima fired tear gas to disperse the massive protest to call for the release of detained activists.

The police said in a statement that 72 policemen and 11 protesters were injured during the demonstration.

The situation in Al Hoceima has been tense since October 2016, when fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death after climbing into a rubbish lorry to retrieve his swordfish confiscated by police.

The demand for justice for Fikri in the north-eastern region has evolved into a major grassroots movement to require greater government investment to create more jobs.

Morocco has not witnessed any protests of this size since the pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab spring in 2011.

 


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