Abdelkabir al-Hor

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Abdelkabir al-Hor, a Moroccan blogger and founding director of the news website Rassd Maroc, is serving a four-year sentence for “terrorism apologism.” The blogger’s brother said that he believes authorities detained al-Hor because of his coverage of the anti-corruption group Al-Hirak al-Shaaby, or the Popular Movement.

The movement organized protests in the Rif area in 2016 following the death of a fishmonger, who was killed by a garbage truck as he tried to retrieve fish that the police had confiscated from him, according to news reports. Moroccan authorities arrested several local journalists and deported at least four international journalists for their coverage of the protests, CPJ documented at the time.

Al-Hor’s outlet, Rassd Maroc, was often critical in its coverage of the Moroccan government.

Policemen arrested al-Hor on August 6, 2017, at his home in the city of Marrakesh, the journalist’s brother, Adam al-Hor, told CPJ and local media reported. Police transferred al-Hor to their headquarters in Casablanca, where they held the journalist for five days, his brother told CPJ.

On August 11, 2017, a Rabat investigative judge arraigned the blogger and charged him with “promoting terrorism” and “inciting dissidence” on the Rassd Maroc Facebook page, according to Adam al-Hor and news reports. The judge did not cite specific posts; the investigation centered around al-Hor’s news coverage of protests in Rif.

The journalist denied the charges, his brother said. The journalist’s lawyer, Mohamed Aghnaj, said al-Hor was sentenced for posts on a Facebook page the blogger had not used since 2016.

On February 1, 2018, a Salé criminal court sentenced al-Hor to four years in prison for “terrorism apologism,” local media reported.

In April 2019, authorities moved the journalist from the maximum security prison Tiflet 2 to Safi Prison, 300 km south of Rabat, Aghanj told CPJ.

The Court of Cassation is reviewing al-Hor’s case, but as of late 2019 it had not issued a ruling, Aghanj told CPJ. He added that the journalist’s health was stable.

As of late 2019, Morocco’s Embassy to the U.S. had not responded to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment or updates on his case.