The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Morocco: six months imprisonment in harsh ruling against journalist and blogger Hassan Barhoun
Cairo 8 March 2009
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned the harsh ruling by the misdemeanors court in the northern city of Tetouan against journalist and blogger Hassan Barhoun for allegedly "disseminating false information." In a hasty trail that only involved one hearing, the court sentenced him on Friday March, 6th, to six months in prison and a fine of 5000 Moroccan dirhams (approximately 620 dollars). Some lawyers withdrew from the session, while others were not allowed to complete their defense, all of which raises doubt about the fairness of the trial.
Hassan Barhoun, arrested on Feb 26, was referred to trial last Friday for publishing a memo signed by 60 political and human rights activists and intellectuals condemning corruption and raising questions about the role of the prosecution in the release of a drugs baron in Tetouan. The prosecution member mentioned in the memo ordered his arrest and referred him for a hasty trail that sentenced him in its first session.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights stated: "Hassan Barhoun's case and the harsh ruling against him is one incidence in an extended series of violations practiced against journalists and bloggers in Morocco in order to silence and punish them for opposing corruption. The ruling raises more questions on the role of the Moroccan judiciary in either protecting freedom of expression and opinion or stifling it."
About Hassan Barhoum's case:
Maroc - Le journaliste et bloggeur Hassan Barhoun condamné à six mois de prison.