Morocco World News
Morocco World News
New York, February 4, 2012
After 9 months spent in jail, Rachid Nini, the founder of Al Massae newspaper, is poised to regain his freedom. According to well-acquainted sources close to the Ministry of Justice, it is believed that Morocco’s most famous journalists is among the 458 convicts that were granted pardon by King Mohamed VI, on the occasion of the Eid Al-Mawlid Ennabaoui (birthday of the Prophet).
This information should be taken with caution, as the release of the journalist has still not been confirmed yet by the Minister of Justice.
Nini was convicted by the Casablanca Court of First Instance, on June 9 for having “gravely offended” public officials, accusing public officials of violating the law without providing proof and offending the judiciary or discrediting its rulings or trying to influence the courts.”
He was sentenced to one year in prison and was fined 1,000 dirhams (US$120). The sentence and verdict were appealed by Nini’s lawyers, but were both upheld by the court.
The election of the new government raised hope among observers over a possible release of Rachid Nini before the end of his sentence in prison.
On November 27, 2011, in a press conference after the announcement of the victory of his party in the legislative elections, Abdelilah Benkirane, said that “he does not understand why he is still detained and he is convinced that he should be returned to his family and children.”
“Chouf Tchouf”, which can be translated into “Look and See”, was Nini’s daily column in which he frequently targeted what he viewed as acts of corruption and injustice for which he blamed Moroccan authorities.
Nini’s cause has gained momentum among Human rights associations across the globe such as Human Right Watch and Oxfam Novib to name only a few. Moroccan journalists and activists have repeatedly urged the new government to release Nini and condemn any infringement on freedom of speech.
Last month, Oxfam Novib, the first politically independent and non religious development organization, in association with Pen International, granted Rachid Nini the Pen award in its annual ceremony held in the Hague.