A court in Morocco has increased Taoufik Bouachrine’s sentence to 15 years in prison for sexual violence.
The head of the independent daily Akhbar al-Yaoum newspaper was sentenced to 12 years in prison for human trafficking, abuse of power for sexual violence, rape and attempted rape.
Bouachrine has repeatedly denied this. His defense denounces what they call a political trial.
“Taoufik Bouachrine maintains his innocence on all charges. He wonders how he could have been charged with such terrible crimes as human trafficking and rape in the absence of any proof”, Abdelmoula Marouri said.
Known for his critical writing, the journalist boycotted the last appeal hearings to protest against methods by the prosecution. According to him, he was prevented from proving his innocence. However, Bouachrine insisted on exercising his right to speak on Friday by calling for a fair sentence.
“Taoufik Bouachrine says: I am just a journalist and not an opponent of any party. I am a simple journalist with my pen, I am not opposed to any institutions or the state”, Marouri added.
The head of Morocco’s most widely read Arabic-language daily newspaper was also fined 250,000 euros as compensation to the eight plaintiffs.