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Morocco : A Sahrawi journalist sentenced to six years in prison for «insulting public officials»

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Walid Salek Batal, a Sahrawi journalist sentenced by a Laayoune court for taking part in riots. / Ph. DR

A Sahrawi journalist was sentenced, Wednesday, to six years in prison by an appeal court for taking part in the city of Laayoune.

Walid Salek Batal was accused of «crossing roadblocks, insulting public officials and weapon possession», his lawyer Lahbib Rguibi told Spanish news agency EFE.

The lawyer said that Walid Salek Batal was arrested in Smara in April after «an altercation with the police, which set a fence around the house of a Sahrawi activist». The authorities intervened to prevent «Sahrawi activists from committing wrongdoings after the activist was released from prison», he added.

Batal was also accused of taking part in protests in the city of Smara in March 2018, which turned into riots. During his trial, Batal «rejected all accusations», his lawyer said.

In September, nine pro-Polisario Sahrawis received prison sentences for taking part in riots in Laayoune.

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