The Moroccan authorities arrested a news website editor, Ali Anouzla, on Tuesday (17 September) after he posted an article about a jihadist video, reports Human Rights Watch.
Police arrested Anouzla at his home in Rabat and seized computer hard drives from the office of the Arabic-language site Lakome.com.
The prosecutor who ordered Anouzla’s arrest said the video, which was attributed to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), “contained a clear call and direct incitement to perpetrate acts of terrorism in Morocco.”
But Anouzla did not post the video – called “Morocco, kingdom of corruption and despotism” – nor link to it. Instead, his article contained a link to a blog post about the video that had previously appeared on the website of the Spanish daily newspaper El País. He was, in other words, doing his job as a journalist by reporting information.
Morocco’s justice ministry has announced that it will sue El País in Spainfor providing a link to the video, saying it onstituted incitement to commit terrorist acts in Morocco.
“Ali Anouzla, like journalists around the world, considers it his job to cover what al-Qaeda and its affiliates say and do,” said Joe Stork, the acting Middle East and north Africa HRW director.
“When authorities confuse reporting with endorsing, they scare off other journalists who are legitimately reporting on such movements.”