Jailed Moroccan editor Ali Anouzla freed on bail

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A prominent Moroccan editor facing charges of abetting terrorism for reporting on an al-Qaeda video was released on bail Friday after a month in prison, according to supporters and his lawyer.

Ali Anouzla left Sale prison, near the capital Rabat, and was greeted by a crowd of supporters and journalists, but he made no statements and still faces charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years.

“The investigative judge agreed this morning to our request for bail,” defense lawyer Hassan Semlali told The Associated Press. “Anouzla is still being accused of the same charges and continues to maintain his innocence.”

Anouzla was arrested and charged with advocating terrorism and aiding terrorists in September after his online news site Lakome.com wrote about an al-Qaeda video criticizing Morocco.

The site Lakome has since been blocked in Morocco at Anouzla’s request, Semlali said.

Anouzla is known for his secular outlook, so many see the charges as punishment for his past criticism of King Mohammed VI.

Morocco, a popular tourist destination, is generally considered more stable and open than its North African neighbors, but it still ranks low on media freedom indexes.

In the past few years, however, there has been an explosion in online journalism with Anouzla’s Lakome site leading the way.

This year alone, Anouzla’s site broke the story of the king’s accidental pardon of a convicted Spanish child molester, warned about a post-Arab Spring crackdown in the country and criticized the king’s frequent trips to France.

Anouzla appeared before the investigative judge Tuesday and will return to court Oct. 30.

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