State of Alert, State of Exception

Two journalists, Mustapha Hormatallah and Abderrahim Ariri, of the Moroccan weekly Alwatan Al-An, were arrested last week (July 17), after the publication of a story about “the Secrets Behind the Enhanced State of Alert in Morocco,” reproducing documents that the Moroccan police described as “classified”.

After 96 hours under police custody, both journalists were charged, and while Ariri was released on bail, Hormatallah was incarcerated in the Okacha Prison.

Morocco has raised his level of alert, recently, because of a perceived terrorist threat. Many road blocks and check points were deployed around the country. Under Moroccan Judiciary (which is highly linked to the political power), and amidst a climate of repression in the name of the struggle against terrorism, the authorities are highly nervous and it’s not unusual to see journalists paying the price of this sensitive mood. It’s not the first time the Moroccan authorities clamped down on journalists for motives ranging from the insult to the sanctity of the throne or religion to the threat for national security.

Both journalists were merely doing the job that any of their colleagues, worldwide, are supposed to do: looking for the truth. That supposes sometimes gaining access to “classified information”.

Hormatallah and Arir risk prison terms of one to up to five years.

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(Picture by “Alexbip“)

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