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Democracy Now! broke the moroccan blockade in Western Sahara by publishing the news of the Saharawi journalist Walid El Batal s trial .

Democracy Now! broke the moroccan blockade in Western Sahara by publishing the news of the Saharawi journalist Walid El Batal s trial .

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6 December 2016

Equipe Media
December 6, 2016.

In news from the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, 22 year-old media activist Walid Batal was sentenced yesterday by a Moroccan court to 14 months in prison for filming a peaceful protest in the city of Smara last November 25th on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

 Twenty protesters, mostly women, were injured by police at the protest. The court found Batal guilty of obstructing a public road and attacking a police officer, but Fatal claims he was only filming the protest for the Sahrawi media group Smara News.
 He is one of several media activists recently arrested and tried by Morocco in the Western Sahara, where independent journalists are routinely persecuted. Last month, Reporters Without Borders called on Moroccan authorities to stop violating the rights of Sahrawi and foreign journalists and end all reporting restrictions in Western Sahara, a territory occupied by Morocco for 41 years.

The report mentioned the recent deportation of French journalist Camille Lavoix from Western Sahara and the arrest and detention of two Sahrawi citizen journalists, Said Amidan and Brahim Laajail (LAAH-JAAIHL) from the group Equipe Media. Both were convicted last week of “attacking a public official”, which human rights organizations say is a standard charge against journalists who witness and film protests and police violence in Western Sahara.

 

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