Moroccan journalist detained over tweet criticising judge
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A Moroccan journalist and activist was charged and detained over a tweet that criticised a court decision, his lawyer said Thursday, the same day a YouTuber was sentenced to four years in prison for "insulting the king" in a video broadcast on social networks.
The cases come after the Moroccan Human Rights Association had deplored in July an "escalation of violations of human rights and public and individual freedoms" in Morocco.
Journalist Omar Radi, 33, was detained in Casablanca and now faces trial, his lawyer Said Benhammani told AFP.
He is being prosecuted for a tweet published nine months ago criticising the judge in charge of the case against the leaders of the Hirak protest movement, he said.
In the first hearing Thursday, Radi's lawyers requested his conditional release, which the Casablanca court rejected.
The next hearing is set for January 2.
Morocco's criminal code punishes "insulting magistrates" with imprisonment of between one month and one year.
The group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the decision to place the journalist "in detention for tweets from last April".
In its latest annual press freedom index, RSF ranked Morocco 135th out of 180 countries.
Also on Thursday, YouTuber Mohamed Sekkaki, known as "Moul Kaskita", was sentenced by a court in the western city of Settat to four years in prison, his lawyer Mohamed Ziane told AFP.
Sekkaki, whose videos usually exceed 100,000 views, was arrested in early December after posting a video in which he insulted Moroccans as "donkeys" and criticised King Mohammed VI, who is considered "inviolable" under the constitution.
Ziani said his client would appeal the verdict.
The conviction of the YouTuber came less than a month after a Moroccan rapper was sentenced to a year in prison for "insulting a public official".
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
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