A court sentenced the journalist to three years in June 2018 for “inciting participation in banned protest” and “threatening national security.”
Rabat – Moroccan journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui left prison Monday morning after serving a three-year prison sentence.
Hamid El Mahdaoui appeared in scores of photos online, showing him full of joy to reunite with his wife and two children.
The release comes after three years of imprisonment. The Casablanca Appeal Court sentenced the journalist on June 28, 2018, to three years in prison for “inciting participation in banned protest” and “threatening national security” charges.
Pending the sentence, he had been in detention for approximately one year.
The former editor-in-chief of the Badil news outlet was found guilty “of failing to report an attempt to undermine internal state security” to the national police.
Security services arrested the Hamid El Mahdaoui on July 20, 2017, after a speech he gave at Place Mohammed VI in Al Hoceima, encouraging activists to join protests deemed unauthorized.
The protests are part of the social movement in the Al Hoceima province called Hirak Rif. The movement emerged in October 2016 after the death of local fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri.
On June 26, the court also sentenced 54 more activists to sentences ranging from one to 20 years in prison.
The activists include Nasser Zefzafi, Nabil Ahamjik, and Ouassim Boustati, who received the longest sentence (20 years).
The sentences received backlash and protests from public figures and journalists, as well as activists, who called for the immediate release of the detainees.