The trial of Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, the managing editor of the independent weekly Tel Quel, and Karim Boukhari, his news editor, for libelling a legislator was "unfair" and the sentences handed down by a Casablanca court on 15 August - a two-month suspended prison term, 1 million dirhams (90,000 euros) in damages and a fine of 2,500 dirhams (255 euros) - were "disproportionate," Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.
"We are outraged by the severity of these sentences," the press freedom organization said. "Moroccan newspapers should not have to fear prison sentences when libel actions are brought against them. Allowing such a threat to hang over journalists is contrary to international press freedom standards. Furthermore, the rights of the defense were not respected in this trial."