News

February 15, 2002 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Appeal by directors of the Journal Hebdomadaire - Prison sentences commuted to suspended sentences


In a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice, Omar Azziman, Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders - RSF) protested against the sentencing, on appeal, of Aboubakr Jamaï, managing editor of the Journal Hebdomadaire and Ali Amar, managing director, to suspended prison sentences. The organization asked the minister to "use all his influence to get the decision overturned by the supreme court". According to information obtained by RSF, the court of appeal in Casablanca sentenced Aboubakr Jamaï, managing editor of the Journal Hebdomadaire and Ali Amar, managing director, on February 14, to three and two month suspended sentences respectively. They were also ordered to pay 500,000 dirhams (approximately 50,000 euro) in damages and a fine of 10,000 dirhams (approximately 1,000 euro). Ali Amar told Reporters Sans Frontières that he and his colleague would appeal to the supreme court. On March 1, 2001, the district court of Aïn Chok in Casablanca had ordered Aboubakr Jamaï and Ali Amar to pay two million dirhams (approximately 200,000 euro) in damages and a fine of 10,000 dirhams (approximately 1,000 euro). The two directors had also been sentenced respectively to three and two months in jail. They were taken to court by the Foreign Minister, Mohamed Benaïssa, following the publication of a report in issues 117, 118 and 119 of the Journal (outlawed on December 2, 2000) which accused the minister of misappropriation of public funds when he was the US ambassador. The newspaper's management appealed against the decision. On December 2, 2000, the Minister for Culture and Communication, Mr. Mohamed Achaâri, had announced he was "definitively barring publication (of the) three weeklies" Le Journal, Assahifa and Demain for having "affected the stability of the state". Le Journal and Assahifa had published, respectively on November 25 and December 1, a letter reportedly from the former opposition leader, Mohamed Basri, stating that the Moroccan left had been involved in the attempted coup of 1972 against King Hassan II, and directly implicating the current Prime Minister and President of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP - left-wing), Abderrahmane Youssoufi. Mr. Achaâri had explained that the government's decision "complied with protection of the nation's interests and the sacred nature of its institutions".