Human rights | Media
Moroccan blogger jailed
afrol News, 10 September - A Moroccan blogger has been slapped with two year jail sentence for critiscising the country's monarchy on an online news website, the man's family said.
Mohamed Erraji, 29 was convicted after writing in online newspaper Hespress that kingdom had been destroyed by practice of handing out charity or gifts such as taxi licences to a lucky few, which encouraged people to beg.
There has been no official comment on case, but rights groups claim Erraji did not have a fair trial.
Police arrested Mr Erraji on Friday and he was brought for trial on Monday in Agadir without presence of a defence lawyer, according to a member of his family. He was given a two-year prison sentence and fined US$630 (5,000 dirhams).
Journalist advocacy agency Reporters Without Borders has condemned decision to imprison Mr Erraji for an article he wrote entitled "King encourages dependency on handouts" in which he drew attention to King Mohammed VI's habit of granting favours, said organisation.
"The jailing represents something of a downward trend for the country," commented Reporters Without Borders regarding decision to jail Mr Erraji.
One relative, who claimed to have been present at the trial, said Erraji had not had a lawyer and that judgment took only ten minutes.
"Judge passed sentence very quickly but we couldn't hear what was being said. He had no opportunity to explain himself," said the relative, who asked not to be named.
Head of Moroccan human rights group AMDH, Khadija Riyadi, said Mr Erraji's comments did not constitute an insult to the king but were political views on how Morocco is governed.
"Basic elements of a fair trial were not respected. It happened so quickly that all his rights were flouted," she said.
Morocco has previously caused international outrage with its treatment of Internet users.
Earlier this year, Fouad Mortada was sentenced to three years in prison for creating a false profile on Internet site 'Facebook' using identity of King's brother.
However, he received a royal pardon following protests from other Internet users around the world.
Morocco's press code makes it an offence to show disrespect to King.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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