14 September 2017

Morocco: Video Blogger Sentenced to 10 Months in Prison

A Moroccan court on August 18, 2017 sentenced video blogger Mohamed Taghra to 10 months in prison for criminal defamation after he published a report on local police corruption in the country's central Souss-Massa region, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information and the Arab Bloggers Union reported.

Taghra, who publishes his work under the pseudonym Hamza Lhazin, was found guilty of "insulting and defaming" officials of the Royal Gendarmerie police, according to local media.

The charge is related to a YouTube video that features interviews with eyewitnesses who claim Royal Gendarmerie members forged a report for a traffic accident that resulted in a fatality. In the video, which was viewed over 50,000 times, Taghra said the Royal Gendarmerie took a bribe to forge the traffic report.

Police arrested Taghra on August 4 at his home in the town of Ouled Teima, according to news reports. Since his arrest, the video blogger has been held in the Ait Melloul prison, located approximately 20 miles southwest of Ouled Teima, according to a Facebook post from Taghra's account. CPJ was unable to determine who was posting from Taghra's account.

Starting in 2015, Taghra regularly posted about cases of alleged corruption in several towns in the Souss-Massa region on his social media accounts, and has drawn the ire of local officials in the past.

Moroccan government spokesperson Moustapha Khalfi did not respond to CPJ's request for comment sent via email.

In June 2016, security officials in the city of Taroudant, also in Souss-Massa, summoned Taghra for questioning after an education ministry official filed a defamation complaint against the blogger, according to news reports. The complaint came after Taghra accused officials of leaking high school exams in exchange for money, according to the reports. CPJ could not determine more details about the status of the 2016 complaint.

Members of Taghra's family did not immediately respond to CPJ's request for comment sent over social media.


Africa sharpens expertise in agricultural statistics

Rabat, 17 September 2018 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.