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Cairo 8 March 2009

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned today the harsh ruling by Tetuan misdemeanors court against journalist and blogger Hassan Barhoun for allegedly circulating false news. In a hasty trail that took only one hearing session, on Friday 6th of March, the court condemned him with six months in prison and a 5000 Moroccan dirham fee. Some lawyers withdrew from the session while other lawyers could not fully submit their pleading. This casts doubt upon the justice of the court.

Hassan Barhoun, arrested in 26 Feb last, was referred for trail last Friday for publishing a memo signed by 60 political and human rights activists and intellectuals condemning corruption and raising questioning the role of the prosecution in facilitating the escape of a drugs baron in Tetuan. The prosecution member meant in the memo ordered the arrest and referred him for a hasty trail that ruled in its first session with the aforementioned ruling.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights said that Hassan Barhoun’s case and the harsh ruling against him is an episode in an extended series of violations practiced against journalists and bloggers in Morocco with the purpose of muzzling and punishing them for fighting corruption. The ruling raises more questions on the role of the judiciary in protecting freedom of expression and opinion or in manacling it.

about Hassan Barhoum’s case :