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Moroccan journalist, editor convicted of insulting Islam

[JURIST] A Moroccan editor and journalist were both convicted Monday of insulting the Islamic religion in a 10-page article about religious jokes [BBC backgrounder] published in a Moroccan newspaper in early December. Journalist Sanaa al-Aji and Driss Ksikes, editor of Nichane [media website, in Arabic] weekly, were given suspended sentences of three years, fined $9,280 each, and are prohibited from engaging in any journalistic activity for two months. Prosecutors had asked the court to impose much harsher 3-5 year prison terms, but the pair said they still plan to appeal the sentences they did receive.

Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou [Wikipedia profile] banned Nichane on December 21 after complaints began to surface on an Islamist website, and the trial against the two accused began a short time later. The National Press Union of Morocco and media rights group Reporters Without Borders [advocacy group] voiced their opposition to the trial [press release], insisting that Morocco was backtracking on efforts to lift media restrictions over the past few years. AP has more.

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