HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

The court had rejected Mahdaoui’s defense that as a journalist he often receives calls from strangers and that he felt the man’s claims were “idle chatter.” (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 July 2018
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HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

  • Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for “not denouncing” attempts to harm state security
  • Well known for criticising the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence

TUNIS: Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized a Morocco court on Wednesday for sentencing a prominent journalist to three years in prison on a “dubious charge” relating to a northern protest movement.
Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for “not denouncing” attempts to harm state security after he received a call from a man who said he planned to create armed strife in Morocco.
The court had rejected Mahdaoui’s defense that as a journalist he often receives calls from strangers and that he felt the man’s claims were “idle chatter,” HRW said.
Well known for criticizing the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence for inciting protests.
He received the call during the thousands-strong Al-Hirak al-Shaabi (Popular Movement) demonstrations that rocked the Rif region in 2016 and 2017.
HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said the charges against him “reek of an arbitrary use of the law on an outspoken journalist by authorities who have been radically reducing the space for critical reporting and commentary.”


Mexican radio journalist murdered, first reporter death of 2019

Updated 35 min 56 sec ago
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Mexican radio journalist murdered, first reporter death of 2019

  • Rafael Murua, a community radio station director, had received death threats for his work
  • Murua, 34, was under the Mexican government’s protection program for journalists and rights activists

MEXICO CITY: A Mexican journalist was found murdered in the northern state of Baja California Sur, the governor said Monday, the first reporter killed this year in what has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.
Rafael Murua, a community radio station director who had received death threats for his work, went missing Sunday night, according to local media reports. Governor Carlos Mendoza confirmed the journalist had been found murdered, condemning the killing.
“This cowardly crime will not go unpunished,” the governor wrote on Twitter.
“My solidarity to the family and all journalists working in Baja California Sur.”
Murua, 34, was under the Mexican government’s protection program for journalists and rights activists, said Balbina Flores, country director for the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
The group reported at least nine journalists’ murders in Mexico last year, making it the third-most-dangerous country to be a reporter after war-torn Afghanistan and Syria.
Racked by violent crime linked to its powerful drug cartels and fueled by political corruption, Mexico has registered more than 100 journalists’ murders since 2000.
The vast majority of the cases have gone unpunished — as do more than 90 percent of violent crimes in Mexico.