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Human rights campaigners demand the release of Moroccan journalist

Human rights campaigners demand the release of Moroccan journalist
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Protesters have taken to the streets in Morocco over the detention of a journalist who has been locked up on terrorism charges.

Human rights campaigners are demanding the freedom of Ali Anouzla, a Moroccan editor being held behind bars.

The journalist is accused of supporting terrorism after his online news site wrote about an al-Qaeda video criticising the country. His lawyer said Anouzla had “reaffirmed that he is totally against terrorism”.

He faces up to 20 years in jail in a case which many fear highlights a crackdown on journalists in Morocco, a country where news websites are growing in numbers.

Sirine Rached, a researcher at Amnesty International said the arrest was a worrying development for the country.

“There remain problems with Moroccan legislation and, although we were hopeful that the press code was going to be introduced without prison sentences for journalists and that journalists would be prosecuted under the press code and not under the penal code and even less under the anti-terrorism law, this case is a very worrying signal for us.”

Many see Anouzla’s imprisonment as punishment for his fierce criticism of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.