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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Moroccan editor stays in jail
King Mohamed VI of Morocco
Published comments on the King and Islam are restricted
A Moroccan appeal court has upheld a jail term against a newspaper editor for defaming the king.

Ali Lamrabet's sentence was however reduced from four to three years.

His case is being seen as a test case for press freedom.

He has been on hunger strike for more than a month and was too weak to attend the court hearing.

Last week, his lawyer said he was "near death" after losing 22kg.

Magazines banned

Mr Lamrabet, who is diabetic with a heart condition, has recently started to drink water again for his medication.

He is the Moroccan representative of the international journalists' organisation, Reporters Without Borders.

Ali Lamrabet
Lamrabet is getting weaker by the day

He has dual French-Moroccan nationality and his Paris-based brother has asked President Jacques Chirac to intervene, reports the French news agency, AFP.

The court also upheld a ban on Mr Lamrabet's two satirical weeklies, Demain and Doumane and a fine of 20,000 dirhams ($2,350).

"Again, Moroccan justice shows that it cannot protect public freedoms in this country," his lawyer Abderrahim Jamai told Reuters news agency.

He was sentenced in May to four years in prison for "insulting the king's person" and "undermining [Morocco's] territorial integrity" in recent articles and cartoons.

Fears for jailed Moroccan editor
06 Jun 03  |  Africa
Editor jailed for Morocco insult
21 May 03  |  Africa
Moroccan editor on hunger strike
07 May 03  |  Africa
Finding a voice in Morocco
14 Jan 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Morocco
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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