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Moroccan journalists protest trial of syndicate chairman

Dozens of Moroccan journalists, human rights activists and politicians protested on Tuesday in front of the Court of First Instance in Rabat over the defamation case of Abdallah Bakkali, chairman of the National Syndicate of the Moroccan Press (SNPM).

The participants held protest slogans denouncing the trial of Bakkali and the restrictions on press.

Bakkali said in remarks to Anadolu news agency that his trial gives legitimacy to international reports which rank Morocco very low in terms of freedom of press.

"This trial comes as Morocco witnesses a series of setbacks in the field of public and press freedoms and human rights," Bakkali said.

Morocco's Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad accused Bakkali, also MP for the Independence Party, of defaming the King's rulers on the backdrop of an article he published in Al-Alam newspaper in October 2015. The article addressed the "financial corruption and the electoral fraud which marred the last communal and regional elections".

The trial was adjourned to 24 May upon request of the defence team.


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