When El Bachir Hazzam circulated information about the heavy handed crackdown on student protests in the village of Taghjijt (200 km south of Agadir) in Morocco he did so with the the intention of letting the Moroccan society know what was going on, this it seems was not the view of the Moroccan autorities who promptly arrested him and the owner of the cyber cafe he used to get online.
Hazzam was arrested on 7th December in relation to the protest but question revealed that the authorities also were interested in a September 2007 article he had written about the legislative process in Morocco. He was given a four month sentence while the cyber cafe owner, Abdullah Boukfou was given a 12 month jail term. Hazzam was charged with ‘?????spreading false information about human rights that undermined the kingdom’s image’ while Boukfou was charged with ‘being in possession of publications that incite racial hatred’.
To say that the charged are superfluous would be an understatement, these are just the cleverest of the what the Moroccan authorities could think of to get a conviction. At CPB we recognize this as a pattern of lies that governments manufacture to silence online dissidents.
Hazzam has indicated that he will be appealing against the sentence and we wish him the best of luck.