Drop All Charges Against Moroccan Journalist Ali Anouzla – Let Him Go Free, Once and For All

Drop All Charges Against Moroccan Journalist Ali Anouzla – Let Him Go Free, Once and For All

 

 

Human rights and freedom of expression groups are calling on the Moroccan authorities to drop all charges against Ali Anouzla and to end their judicial pursuit of him and his news publication.

 

Over two years on from his initial arrest, detention and subsequent release, independent journalist and editor-in-chief of the Arabic edition of news website Lakome2 (and its blocked predecessor Lakome) Ali Anouzla has begun another year facing the same accusations that the Moroccan authorities have relentlessly pursued against him since September 2013.

 

The original terrorism-related charges against Anouzla reportedly still stand – as does the very real risk of him spending anywhere between 10 and 30 years in jail.

 

We, the undersigned organisations, are dismayed by the potential of once again seeing Ali Anouzla before a court of law defending himself against the same baseless and unsubstantiated claims that the Moroccan authorities tried to charge him with over two years ago. We repeat loud and clear that these charges remain unfounded under international law, and amount to a violation of his freedom of expression and his right to inform the public.

 

Anouzla was arrested on 17 September 2013 for publishing an article on the original Lakome website that contained a link to an El País article about a video posted by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On 24 September 2013, he was indicted by the investigating judge at the Rabat Court of Appeals for allegedly providing “material assistance” to a terrorist group, “defending terrorism” and “inciting the execution of terrorist acts” (on the basis of the anti-terrorist law 03-03 of 28 May 2003).

 

He spent five weeks in “preventative detention” before being released on bail on 25 October 2013.

 

On 17 October 2013, while still in jail, both the Arabic and French-language versions of Lakome were blocked. After Anouzla’s conditional release, repeated requests to the National Agency for Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT) and the prosecutor’s office to unblock the news sites were met with no reply. To this day, the sites remain inaccessible from inside Morocco.

 

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Anouzla faced the prospect of appearing before various investigating judges accused of the same terrorism-related charges that continue to dog him, only to repeatedly have his hearings postponed. As a result his case, and the threat of losing his liberty, have been deliberately prolonged.

 

As one of the most respected Arab journalists in the region, Ali Anouzla is known for his commitment to promoting independent newspapers as well as his steadfast dedication to press freedom, including a bold editorial stance that does not hesitate to cross red lines and criticise the authorities, including King Mohammed VI.

 

His publications are renowned for their unequivocally pro-democracy editorial line that translates into a critical yet fair treatment of the real power holders in Morocco. This has allowed Lakome, and now Lakome2, to attract a relatively large audience as well as high profile, quality contributors.

 

Many human rights observers inside Morocco, as well as internationally, believe Anouzla’s on-going harassment by the judicial authorities is retaliation for Lakome’s revelation of the ‘Daniel scandal’, in which the Moroccan King was found to have pardoned, as a gesture of friendship between him and his Spanish counterpart, King Juan Carlos, a Spanish serial child rapist sentenced to 30 years in prison – of which he spent only a year and a half behind bars.

 

The scandal led to a wave of demonstrations against the Moroccan monarch in early August 2013, and spurred unprecedented solidarity among local, regional and international human rights groups.

 

After the launch of Lakome2 in August 2015, Anouzla was summoned once again to appear before an investigative judge on 26 November to answer questions related to the same politically motivated case from 2013.

 

We urge the Moroccan authorities to once and for all dismiss the charges against Ali Anouzla and to allow him the freedom to practice independent journalism unhindered. This relentless pursuit of a respected journalist on clearly unfounded charges should be an embarrassment to Morocco; instead, the authorities appear determined to punish him for his willingness to question authority – the very basis of what it is to be a journalist. Ali Anouzla is no terrorist, and the Moroccan authorities should be ashamed by these persistent attempts to denigrate both him and the profession of journalism in such a way. Let Ali Anouzla go free; let critical, independent journalism in Morocco thrive.

 

Singed by:

Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State
Maharat Foundation-Lebanon
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information “ANHRI”
The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights
The Tunis Center for Press Freedom
The Committee for the Respect of Human Rights and Liberties in Tunisia
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Journaliste en danger
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
International Press Institute (IPI)
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

CRLDHT: Newsletter November / December 2015

Ladies and gentlemen:

Regarding the current situation in Tunisia, the Committee for the Respect of Freedom and Human Rights in Tunisia (established in 1996 and known by the French acronym: CRLDHT) found it necessary to publish a monthly newsletter.

Drafted in three languages, Arabic, French and English, the newsletter is intended for those who really care about the future of democracy in this country

November / December 2015

Summary

EditoRial : Freedoms are more powerful than security measures in combating terrorism

  1. Radicalization born from misery
  2. Dismissal of 50 imams by the ministry of religious affairs
  3. The legal file of the martyrs and wounded of the revolution: back on track
  4. Sexual harassment and rule of silence
  5. Border guards of a “Fortress Europe”?
  6. When deontology serves as an alibi for limiting press freedom
  7. Morocco: more harrowing human rights violations

 

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CRLDHT: Newsletter September / october 2015

Ladies and gentlemen:

Regarding the current situation in Tunisia, the Committee for the Respect of Freedom and Human Rights in Tunisia (established in 1996 and known by the French acronym: CRLDHT) found it necessary to publish a monthly newsletter.

Drafted in three languages, Arabic, French and English, the newsletter is intended for those who really care about the future of democracy in this country

September / october 2015

Summary

EditoRial : Threats to fisheries and aquaculture

  1. No democracy without women’s Participation
  1. The APR and the HJC
  2. Economy: danger looms ahead?
  3. Syrian Refugees…in Tunisia
  4. The abduction of Soufiène and Nadhir: one year on
  5. A draft law against human trafficking
  6. Drug Law Enforcement: What’s new?
  7. Morocco: Freedom of movement, still in question
  8. Egypt: release of over a hundred
  9. political prisoners, not enough

 

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CRLDHT: Newsletter July – August 2015

Ladies and gentlemen:

Regarding the current situation in Tunisia, the Committee for the Respect of Freedom and Human Rights in Tunisia (established in 1996 and known by the French acronym: CRLDHT) found it necessary to publish a monthly newsletter.

Drafted in three languages, Arabic, French and English, the newsletter is intended for those who really care about the future of democracy in this country

July – August 2015

Summary

Editorial: Corruption : a big fly in the ointment of the transition

  1. The Reconciliation in Economic and Financial Areas Draft Law raises Controversies
  2. Ramadan TV dramas: excess of violence and negative image of women
  3. Security apparatus in Tunisia: urgent need to Reform
  4. Marriage of Tunisian women with non-Muslims: a legal framework ?
  5. An agreement between the LTDH and the Ministry of Justice about prison visits
  6. Death sentence of Baghdadi Mahmoudi raised controversy in Tunisia
  7. Egypt : two years after Rabaa ,the need for an independent investigation

 

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CRLDHT: Newsletter: June 2015

Ladies and gentlemen:

Regarding the current situation in Tunisia, the Committee for the Respect of Freedom and Human Rights in Tunisia (established in 1996 and known by the French acronym: CRLDHT) found it necessary to publish a monthly newsletter.

Drafted in three languages, Arabic, French and English, the newsletter is intended for those who really care about the future of democracy in this country

June 2015

Summary

Editorial: The Great Challenge

  1. SOCIAL INEQUALITY : THE GAP IS DEEPENING
  2. ERADICATING TORTURE : THE REQUIREMENTS ARE FAR FROM BEING MET
  3. THE BACCALAUREATE EXAM : GOOD OR BAD HARVEST YEAR?
  4. RAMADAN : “TO FAST OR NOT TO FAST”, IS THAT THE QUESTION?
  5. KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS IN LIBYA : ENDING THE OPACITY
  6. ILLEGAL MARRIAGE : THE UNSAID
  7. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL : “EGYPT’S YOUTH, GO FROM PROTEST TO JAIL”
  8. MOROCCO: WHEN A CRITICAL JOURNALIST IS DEPRIVED OF EXERCISING HIS PROFESSION

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