Call for release of editor jailed over coverage of Rif protest

first_imgNews July 26, 2017 Call for release of editor jailed over coverage of Rif protest The sentence was imposed by a court in the Rif city of Al-Hoceïma, which found him guilty of “inviting” people to “participate in a banned demonstration.” The court also fined him 20,000 dirhams (1,800 euros). Mahdaoui had been in pre-trial detention since his arrest on 20 July in Al-Hoceïma, where he had gone to cover a peaceful demonstration held in the city that day in defiance of a ban imposed a few days earlier. “We call for Hamid El Mahdaoui’s immediate release,” said Yasmine Kacha, the head of RSF’s North Africa bureau. “This recognized journalist just did his job, which was to inform. So why was be prosecuted under the penal code? Was this unjust and summary conviction designed to punish a media outlet whose revelations have been embarrassing the Kingdom for years?” The repeated target of judicial summonses, Mahdaoui was given a four-month suspended prison sentence in June 2015 for articles revealing that police tortured an activist, Karim Lachkar, in an Al-Hoceïma police station in May 2014. He was also fined and ordered to pay damages. In June 2016, Mahdaoui was convicted again for an article accusing the then justice ministry of claiming excessive travel expenses. Seven citizen-journalists and media workers have been arrested in or near Al-Hoceïma since 26 May over their coverage of the Rif region’s protest movement, called “Hirak,” which was triggered by fishmonger Mohcine Fikri’s death last October. Mahdaoui’s conviction follows that of Rif Press website editor Mohamed El Hilali, who was sentenced to five months in prison on 30 June on charges of “insulting police officers in the course of their work” and “demonstrating without prior authorization.” Morocco is ranked 133rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Hamid El Mahdaoui, the editor of the news website, who was sentenced yesterday to three months in prison in connection with his coverage of a wave of protests in northern Morocco’s Rif region. April 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation June 8, 2021 Find out more to go further April 15, 2021 Find out more Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Judicial harassmentFreedom of expressionInternet NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say News News RSF_en News Follow the news on Morocco / Western Sahara Receive email alerts RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance Hunger strike is last resort for some imprisoned Moroccan journalists Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Judicial harassmentFreedom of expressionInternet Help by sharing this information last_img read more

Beirut blasts heap fresh woes on deeper Lebanon crisis

first_imgFor the Lebanese people, who have watched helplessly as their economy has collapsed in recent months, the devastating explosion in Beirut is one disaster too many.The deadly blasts struck at a time when Lebanon’s currency has plummeted against the dollar, businesses have closed en masse and poverty has soared at the same alarming rate as unemployment.”It’s an earthquake,” said Kamel Mohanna, founder of the Amel Association International charity founded during the 1975-1990 civil war. ‘Asking for alms’ Maya Terro, founder of Food Blessed, a local charity that distributes food aid, now expects a huge additional demand. Beirut’s port, which was flattened by the explosions, is the main gateway for imports.”Lebanon imports 80 percent of its food,” Terro said. “Immediately I thought: empty supermarket shelves, increased prices due to shortages.”Inflation of basic food goods already soared by 109 percent between September and May, according to the UN’s World Food Program (WFP).The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization warned Tuesday that, after huge wheat stockpiles at the port were destroyed, “we fear that we will soon have a problem with the availability of flour for the country”. Even before the explosions, life was a daily struggle against poverty and hopelessness, Gaby, a former civil servant in his fifties living in a suburb of Beirut, told AFP several days before the disaster.Gaby, who used to fire up the grill twice a month for a family barbecue, said he now has no choice but to go to a charity to get rice and pasta.”I feel like I am asking for alms,” he said.With hyperinflation, neither his pension — worth $1,600 at official rates, but just $300 on the black market — nor his work as a taxi driver or his wife’s salary as a nurse are enough to support family needs.”We deprive ourselves of a lot,” said the father of four. “We used to have meat four times a week. Today, nothing at all, not even chicken.” ‘Everything is difficult’ Nearly half of Lebanese now live below the poverty line, according to official statistics.Economic difficulties were a key driver of mass protests that began last year against a political system widely seen as corrupt and inept.The economic crisis has been compounded by the loss of income caused by restrictions to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.Two-thirds of Lebanese households have seen their income drop, according to a WFP survey in June, while two-fifths of those questioned had gone into debt to buy food or pay rent.WFP, working with the government, was planning to boost aid to help 697,000 people this year, up from just under 140,000 in 2019, spokesperson Malak Jaafar told AFP before the explosions.Amel Association International said that, even before the blasts, it was already seeing a rise in numbers of Lebanese citizens seeking aid in its more than 20 centers, especially for its medical services.”The first three months of 2020 saw a 30 percent increase in the number of Lebanese beneficiaries,” said health program coordinator Mohammed Al-Zayed.”In Lebanon the healthcare is based on the private sector. As a result, services are expensive, and people have reached a point where they can no longer pay.”Doctors Without Borders in June received 81 Lebanese patients, about three times the normal number, said Axelle Franchomme, medical director of the Bar Elias hospital in the eastern Bekaa region. One of those patients was Ihsane, a woman in her thirties, who had turned to the medical charity for their free gynaecological surgery due to a lack of funds.”My husband has been out of work for a while,” said Ihsane, explaining how they had already sold one of their two cars to raise cash.”Everything has become difficult, everything is expensive,” she said. “We cannot have the same life as before”. “I’ve been working in humanitarian aid in Lebanon for 47 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said as hospitals were overflowing with wounded and the capital was reeling in shock.For months already, many Lebanese struggling in the country’s worst economic crisis in decades have turned to charities once largely dedicated to the nearly two million Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.Amid the economic turmoil, cash shortages, pandemic and street protests, Lebanon’s middle class — teachers, civil servants, nurses — have already seen their lives turned upside down.Now, after Tuesday’s massive explosions at Beirut’s port which killed more than 100 people and wounded thousands, officials estimate that an additional 300,000 Beirut residents will be left homeless.center_img Topics : And the disaster damage bill for an indebted country that was already asking for help from international donors is expected to range between $3.0 billion and $5.0 billion dollars.last_img read more

Coaches hail AIFF-SAI’s online coaching refresher course

first_imgNEW DELHI: Coaches who attended the online coaching refresher course jointly organised by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) hailed the effort, stating that it has “helped spread intricate knowledge of the game across the grassroots levels.”A total of 884 coaches from all over the country registered for the programme. The course which had kicked-off on April 20, concluded on Saturday, as per a report on AIFF’s official website. “I literally was struggling to find ways to spend my time during the lockdown, when I came to know about the course, and signed-up immediately,” current Bhawanipore FC head coach, and former Mohun Bagan gaffer Sankarlal Chakraborty was quoted as saying by “Topics discussed during the sessions have really refreshed me — opening up a whole new dimension in my thought process.” Former custodian and India U-23 goalkeeping coach Tanumoy Basu lauded the programme stating that it provided the coaches “an opportunity to review their own coaching methodologies, enabling them to reflect and improve their own methods.” “We are normally busy at the grounds with our teams, and do not have much time to revisit or rethink the way we train our players. It was a great initiative by AIFF and SAI to conduct this course during the lockdown. It helped us to reflect on our own coaching methodologies,” Basu said. Along with AIFF coaching instructors, lectures were also delivered by the likes of senior men’s national team head coach Igor Stimac, AIFF technical director Isac Doru, AIFF head of coach education Savio Madeira amongst others. Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s coach in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 also enlightened the participants when he conducted a session from his home in Croatia on ‘How to handle star players.’ Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju also joined in at a session with Dalic to encourage the coaches, highlighting the importance of grassroots football. IANSAlso Read: 2021 Chengdu Summer Universiade still on track: FISU Also Watch: Veterinary College in Guwahati creates hand sanitizers to fight the shortage of Sanitizers in Assamlast_img read more