A woman carries a banner of detained journalist Taoufik Bouachrine that reads "Journalism is not a crime" in Arabic during a demonstration in Rabat, Morocco, on April 21, 2019. CPJ has called for him to be released 5 years after his arrest. (AP/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

CPJ calls for Morocco to release journalist Taoufik Bouachrine 5 years after his arrest

CPJ has joined 41 other rights groups urging Moroccan authorities to immediately release journalist Taoufik Bouachrine, former editor-in-chief of local independent newspaper Akhbar al-Youm, on the fifth anniversary of his arrest in 2018.

Bouachrine is serving a 15-year prison sentence on sexual assault charges that were brought in retaliation for his reporting. The joint statement also called for the release of imprisoned journalists Omar Radi and Soulaiman Raissouni.

The statement came shortly after the European Parliament criticized the deterioration of press freedom in Morocco in a January resolution on the situation of journalists in the kingdom. CPJ asked the European Union to renew pressure on Moroccan authorities to release the three imprisoned reporters.

The joint statement can be found here.