Rabat - After Al Hoceima’s Court of Appeal sentenced Moroccan journalist Hamid El Mehdaoui to one year in prison, the National Syndicate of Moroccan Press (SNMP) has released a statement criticizing the ruling.
Rabat – After Al Hoceima’s Court of Appeal sentenced Moroccan journalist Hamid El Mehdaoui to one year in prison, the National Syndicate of Moroccan Press (SNMP) has released a statement criticizing the ruling.
In a statement published on Sep. 14, the SNMP wrote that it was surprised by the appeal court ruling against El Mehdaoui, whose sentence was increased from three months to one year.
The syndicate made the accusation that El Mehdaoui’s prosecution under the Criminal Code instead of the Press and Publication Law was intended to increase his sentence, as according to the group the acts that he was prosecuted for fall under the latter.
The SNMP wrote the judgment issued against El Mahdaoui was an infringement of freedom of press and publication.
The group declared its solidarity with him, demanding that he be “retried on the basis of the press and publication law [and] immediately released.”
For the syndicate, the judicial proceedings taken against him must be dropped, as well as all prosecutions and trials related to the press and publication.
On Sept. 12, Al Hoceima’s Court of Appeal sentenced El Mehdaoui, the director of news site Badil, to one year in prison. In a hearing that lasted over four hours, El Mehdaoui was prosecuted for “inciting citizens to break the law” and “participation in the organization of a prohibited demonstration,” while the other charges against him were dropped.
Initially, Al Hoceima’s court had sentenced El Mehdaoui to three months of prison and a fine of MAD 20,000, after a 15-hour trial on July 25.
In the statement announcing El Mehdaoui’s arrest, the city’s public prosecutor said that the journalist’s 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,” according to the definition of journalism in Moroccan press code.
The journalist is known for his videos shared on social media, in which he criticizes the government.