afrol News, 3 December - For writing an article entitled " The Shirkat's palace is said to be on sale ", Ali Lmrabet, general manager of the weekly Demain magazine and RSF correspondent in Morocco, has been sentenced to four months in jail. Lmrabet did not appeal, but the Rabat prosecutors' office appealed for a longer sentence.
Ali Lmrabet, director of the weekly Demain Magazine, and correspondent of the French media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) in Morocco in November had been given a four months jail sentence and the fine of 30,000 dirhams (about 3,000 euros).
On 1 December the Rabat prosecutors' office however appealed in Ali Lmrabet's case. This decision was taken at the moment of the expiration of the legal period for appeal, which is 10 days after the verdict.
The journalist, who decided not to appeal, said he was ready to go to jail. "Why should I waste time in an affair already judged?", he stated in an interview with the weekly Assahifa, on 30 November.
- This sentence is outrageous, Robert Ménard, RSF general secretary, stated. "It is clear that by sentencing the journalist to jail, the Moroccan authorities are only looking for one thing: to silence one of the only newspapers which tries to inform freely. We ask King Mohammed VI to intervene personally in order to cancel this sentence and to involve himself publicly to secure press freedom," he added.
According to the information collected by RSF, Ali Lmrabet was prosecuted for "diffusing false information in breach of the peace or likely to be a breach of the peace".
The article in Demain Magazine entitled "The Shirkat's palace is said to be on sale", published on 20 October, was qualified by the prosecutor of the court of first instance of Rabat as "diffusion of false information and false allegations".
- They want to humiliate us. This is today's Morocco, Ali Lmrabet declared to RSF. According to him, the real reasons for these prosecutions are, mainly, the publication (in the 27 October issue) of extracts from the last book of Jean-Pierre Tuquoi about Morocco, "The last King", and his articles about Moulay Hicham, the cousin of the King.
In December 2000 the weekly Demain, run by Ali Lmrabet, had been banned with two others publications, Le Journal and Assahifa, for "undermining the stability of the Stat ". In January 2001 the newspaper was able to reappear under the name of Demain Magazine.
Based on RSF