19 January 2013

Morocco: Editor Accused of Slander Due to Report Supported By Evidences On Wine

press release

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, denounces pressing the charges of slander on the journalist "Youssef Gigeli", the chief editor of the weekly magazine "now" by the Moroccan authorities on the background of preparing a press report as one of the ministers of the current Islamic government has asked for wine in his room during a trip abroad.

The authorities have accused the journalist by slander before the court of Ain Sabia' in Casablanca on the background of publishing a press report in May 22, 2012 in which he addressed the request of "Abdulqader Emarah" the Moroccan minister of industry and trade. As during an official trip to Burkina Faso, he requested wine.

Despite the minister denied the fact, but "Gigeli" have submitted the invoices of the hotel in which he was resident that proves he requested the alcohol drinks during his residency, the minister responded that he wasn't in his room during the registering of the invoice.

He will appear before the court on January 28, 2013, and the expected penalty according to law no. 52 of the Moroccan press law, will be imprisonment for a year and a fine of 100.000 (11.955 USD).

ANHRI said that "the authorities use of some flawed articles in the press law to silence the journalists is a serious violation to the freedom of opinion and expression".

ANHRI said that "the authorities must stop prosecutions which aims to terrorize the journalists to stop them from revealing the information that could disturb the officials which is a use of the litigation right as a political tool".

ANHRI called for the dropping of the charges pressed on the journalist and calls the legislative authorities in Morocco to work on amending the articles that allow the imprisonment of the journalists and others in the publishing cases. In addition to setting clear principles to differentiate between the accusation of slander against the people and what is under the frame of revealing the truths related to the conduct of the public personalities and doesn't include the bad intention.

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