Union condemns prison sentence for NUJ member in Moroccan court
9 December 2019
The NUJ has condemned the outcome of a case in a Moroccan court, which has led NUJ member Mohammed Elfenich being sentenced to 8 months in prison, and fined £20,000.
The conviction took place in Guelmim in Southern Morocco, and was effectively a rehearing of a case brought against Elfenich in 2018 without his knowledge.
The NUJ has been campaigning over the past year for the original verdict to be set aside, as the documentation relied on faked credentials included a falsified address, signature and facebook post. Nor is an alleged social media comment about corruption grounds for any journalist to be accused and sentenced in this way.
Elfenich is a UK citizen, working for a broadcaster in London, and was at home in the UK at the time the summons was allegedly signed in April 2018.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"We have sought to resolve this patently ludicrous case sensibly, and have engaged over the past year with the Moroccan Ambassador and other officials here in order to demonstrate that this case was trumped-up. In following the Ambassador’s advice and pursuing this through the appropriate legal channels in Guelmim, we have unfortunately reached the same outcome – albeit with a few months pared off the original sentencing of one year in prison.
"The next step will be an appeal to this outcome, and the NUJ will be doing all it can to ensure justice is done and that this absurd but dangerous outcome is overturned. The NUJ is liaising with our sister union in Morocco, and continues to be in communication with the British Foreign Office, and will be raising with our NUJ cross-parliamentary group following the conclusion of the general election."