A Moroccan court sentenced to jail a journalist for his coverage of unrest in the country’s north, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said, calling for his release.
Abdelkabir al-Horr was convicted on charges of backing “terrorism, inciting others to hold a banned protest in the northern Rif region and insulting” authorities, RSF said in its statement on Friday.
It said Horr, founder of the Rassdmaroc news website, was sentenced to four years in jail on Thursday.
RSF expressed “deep concern” over the verdict and called for the journalist’s “immediate release”.
It quoted the journalist’s lawyer as saying authorities had charged him over his coverage of a wave of protests that shook the neglected Rif region for months last year.
RSF said the so-called incriminating reports were published on a Facebook page which Horr stopped administering in 2016, before the protests erupted.
Originally sparked by the death of a fishmonger crushed in a rubbish truck as he tried to salvage a confiscated fish, the protests snowballed into a challenge to the authorities as protesters called for jobs and an end to graft.
RSF also called on Moroccan authorities to drop all charges against four other journalists on trial since January for publishing in 2016 excerpts of a parliamentary debate deemed confidential.
RSF ranked Morocco 133rd out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index last year.