Moroccan internet 'crimes'

A blogger and the owner of an internet cafe have been jailed in Morocco. The blogger, Bashir Hazzam, was sentenced to four months for "disseminating false information harmful to the kingdom's image concerning human rights".

He was arrested after publishing a statement on his blog from students complaining about disproportionate use of force by the authorities during demonstratons in Taghjijt (200km south of Agadir) on December 1.

The internet café owner, Abdullah Boukhou, was jailed for a year after being accused of sending information and photos of these events, according to Reporters Sans Frontières (Google translationhere).

Last October the Moroccan government presented a plan to improve access to the internet in order to better integrate the kingdom into the information society and digital economy. 

"These convictions represent a step backwards and show that freedom of expression on the Internet does not apply to criticism of the authorities," RSF said.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 16 December 2009.