Blogger Bashir Hazzem was sentenced to four months of detainment for “spreading false information about human rights that undermined the kingdom’s image”
In addition to Bashir, Internet cafe owner Abdullah Boukhou received a 12-month sentence on a charge of possessing a USB key with Bashir’s blog post on it.
Freedom House is already demanding the immediate release of the detainees. In a statement from Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House about these events:
We are troubled by the increasing incidents of blogger harassment in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia where governments act with impunity and hide behind oppressive laws that shield them from criticism. Freedom House applauds the brave bloggers and journalists in the region who are boldly campaigning for their release despite potential repercussions to themselves.
The recent increase of arrests and sentences that revolve around blogging and Internet rights is quite troubling and a serious disappointment. In recent months, there have been arrests in Egypt and Tunisia with stories of brutal beating and equipment confiscation. Let’s hope something can be done to resolve this immediately.