The Moroccan journalist Anas Guennoun, director of the weekly newspaper Al Ahali, was jailed for ten months, with no parole, in April, making him the first journalist to be arrested in Morocco on charges of defamation since King Mohammed VI announced the pardoning of seven journalists on 7 January 2004, a move seen as heralding a commitment to democratisation in Morocco.
Anas Guennoun was sentenced on charges of criminally defaming a politician but, as the World Association of Newspapers has pointed out to the Moroccan authorities, the criminal law is a wholly inappropriate means of dealing with the issue of defamation, and such practice contravenes a number of international agreements.
On a trip to Washington in January the Moroccan Prime Minister, Driss Jettou, said publicly that his country was committed to a process of democratisation.
Please send appeals to
His Excellency Driss Jettou
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco
Information by Nicholas Murray, member of PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee. His biography of Kafka is published next week.
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/prisoners/anasguennoun/