Rabat - Salé’s Criminal Court has fined and given sentences between one and two years to eight members of the youth wing of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) under the charge of terrorism after the group made Facebook posts praising the assassination of a Russian ambassador.
Rabat – Salé’s Criminal Court has fined and given sentences between one and two years to eight members of the youth wing of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) under the charge of terrorism after the group made Facebook posts praising the assassination of a Russian ambassador.
Seven members were sentenced to one year in prison, while one defendant from Meknes was sentenced to two years. All eight of the accused were ordered to pay fines of MAD 10,000.
The PJD youth members were sentenced for terrorism, but the charge of “inciting terrorism in others” was withdrawn.
Lawyer for the defense, Abdessamad Idrissi, described the sentences as “heavy” and “unjust.” “It is a mistake to have judged them according to the anti-terrorist law, given they are not criminals,” said the lawyer, who intends to appeal.
The defense previously tried to persuade the court to sentence them using the ‘Press Law’, citing the fact their posts were made to followers on Facebook. However, this request was denied, because the Public Prosecution said this law was only applicable to journalists, which none of the defendants were.
In late December, five members of the PJD’s youth wing were arrested over Facebook posts considered to have praised the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey by a Turkish police officer.
Following their detention, the PJD’s youth wing publicly criticized their colleagues’ detention through several marches and strikes.
The Islamist party’s youth wing previously described the detention as a “human rights setback threatening freedom of expression” and a “deterrent to young interested in politics.
A lawyer of one of the detainees said that his client “has nothing to do with praising terrorism, and that was no criminal intent in his action,” calling for the release of his young client who he said “still wants to live his life as a teenager.”
When Abdelilah El Hamdouchi, another defendant, was asked for his final words he said that he engaged in political action as a response to a speech by King Mohammed VI on March 9 in 2011. “I think I am now being prosecuted for my response.”
In the King’s speech, he announced major reforms and the implementations of advanced regionalization as part of the unity of state. The king also announced that the reform will include constitutional reform, intended to consolidate democracy and the rule of laws.