On February 1, 2018, a Salé criminal court sentenced Abdelkabir al-Hor, a blogger and the founding director of the news website Rassd Maroc, to four years in prison for “terrorism apologism,” his lawyer Mohamed Aghnaj told CPJ and local media reported.
Policemen arrested al-Hor on August 6, 2017, at his home in the city of Marrakesh, his 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 hold 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’s Facebook page, according to Adam al-Hor and news reports. The judge did not cite specific posts; the investigation centered around al-Hor’s coverage of protests in Morocco’s northern Rif area.
The journalist denies the charges, his brother said.
Aghnaj said al-Hor was sentenced for posts on a Facebook page the blogger has not used since 2016.
Al-Hor is being held in a maximum security prison Tifelt 2, approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Rabat, since April 2018, his lawyer told CPJ.
As of late 2018, al-Hor’s case was undergoing an appeal, Aghnaj told CPJ.
Rassd Maroc has often been critical in its coverage of the Moroccan government, and the blogger’s brother said that the charges stem from the journalist’s coverage of the anti-corruption movement, Al-Hirak al-Shaaby (The Popular Movement). The movement, which has led protests in the Rif area since October 2016, began after a garbage truck crushed a fishmonger to death while he was trying to recover fish that police had confiscated from him, according to news reports. Moroccan authorities have arrested several local journalists and deported at least four international journalists for their coverage of the protests in the Rif area, CPJ has documented.
As of late 2018, Morocco’s Embassy to the United States had not responded to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment.