A Moroccan court on Tuesday slightly reduced the sentences of two journalists convicted for publishing confidential information related to the country's anti-terrorism operations.
An appeals court in Casablanca sentenced Mustapha Hormat Allah to seven months in prison, instead of eight months, while his boss Abderrahim Ariri was given a five-month suspended sentence in place of six months suspended.
A 1,000-dirham fine (90 euros, 120 dollars) for both men will remain in place, the court decided.
'It's a surprise. I expected an acquittal for my clients, or even a lenient sentence,' said Abdelfettah Ouadghiri, a lawyer for the journalists from the Al Watan Al An weekly, who were not present in the court when the decision was announced.
Allah had been given provisional release from jail on September 11. He will remain free until further appeals are exhausted, said Ouadghiri, who has eight days to file an appeal.
The case resulted from an article entitled 'Secret reports behind the state of alert in Morocco' published in the July 14 edition of Al Watan Al An.
In a separate case related to the thorny issue of press freedom in the country, the publisher of two Moroccan weeklies has been charged with showing disrespect to the monarchy.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders watchdog and the national Moroccan press union SNPM have condemned the action against Nishan and TelQuel weeklies.
Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2007, 17:17