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Cairo 2 March 2009

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information expressed concern that arrest of, blogger and journalist, Hassan Barhoum, on Thursday Feb 26, could be for punishment and to provide cover for corruption files he exposed through the initiative he leads under “Journalists Without Limits”, on YouTube. Hassan Barhoum refers to official figures being involved with a drugs baron in Tetuan in Morocco.

Moroccan authorities have arrested Hassan Barhoum, who is a journalist and blogger known for prominent activity in exposing corruption cases and leading a press initiative entitled “Journalists Without Limits”. In his last piece, he questioned the lax role of the prosecution in Tetuan city in facilitating the escape of a drug dealer from punishment. Instead of being interrogated about his article, he was arrested without permission from the King’s deputy in the primary court in Tetuan.

It should be mentioned that Hassan Barhoun was preparing, along with a group of Moroccan journalists and bloggers, for establishing a national syndicate for electronic press in Morocco, which might be another reason for his arrest.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemns the arrest, and believes that Moroccan authorities should make a transparent and just interrogation around the allegations Barhoum raised concerning the involvement of officials, and judicial authorities, in corruption cases. ANHRI thinks that the authorities should make clear to the public the results of this interrogation, and release Barhoum without delay.