Morocco World News
Morocco World News
New York, April 26, 2012
Moroccan journalist Rachid Nini is poised to be released this weekend after having served a one-year sentence in prison.
Rachid Nini, who partly owns the Almassae newspaper, was convicted by the Casablanca Court of First Instance on June 9, for having “gravely offended” public officials, by accusing public officials of violating the law without providing proof and offending the judiciary or discrediting its rulings or trying to influence the courts.”
Since his arrest on April 28, the court has repeatedly denied him bail.
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.
Nini has become a household name in a country where newspaper sales are among the lowest in the region by writing about alleged widespread corruption in government circles.
“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.
The election of the new government raised hope among observers over a possible release of the journalist before the end of his prison sentence.
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.
In January, 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.
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