Morocco journalists start hunger strike

RABAT, Morocco, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Two Moroccan journalists jailed for criticizing the government began a hunger strike to protest restrictions on public freedoms.

Ali al-Mourabit and Mohammed al-Herd said they stopped eating Sunday also to force the government to admit they are political prisoners jailed for airing their views freely and to protest harassment by prison guards.


A statement by al-Mourabit said he was harassed by the administration of Sella prison where he was detained near the capital Rabat and he is being subjected to continuous noise to prevent him from sleeping.

Fellow journalists charge al-Mourabit is being hassled for publishing articles in the foreign press, including France's daily Le Monde and Spain's El Pais.

A Rabat court sentenced al-Mourabit to four years in prison last May for his writings, which it said endangered national unity and slandered the king. A court of appeal reduced the sentence to three years in prison and banned two weekly magazines he used to run.

Al-Herd, director of the weekly al-Sharq, was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of publishing an article by a Muslim Islamist, which allegedly incited violence against the state.

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