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France10 January 2007

Youth detained in Morocco for making online threats against French philosophy teacher

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the news that a young Moroccan has been detained in Rabat on suspicion of making online death threats against French philosophy teacher Robert Redeker over an op-ed piece about Islamism that Redeker wrote for the 19 September issue of Le Figaro.

“This arrest sends a clear message that death threats cannot be made with impunity in France and we therefore welcome it,” the press freedom organisation said. “No one should be threatened for publicly expressing their views.”

Adil al-Hyanne, also known as Omar al-Batar, was arrested in Libya and expelled to Morocco, where he has been detained since 19 December at Salé prison in Rabat. He has reportedly admitted being the author of the threats against Redeker. The French police may provide the Moroccan authorities with evidence so that he can be tried in Rabat.

Redeker, 52, was placed under police protection in an undisclosed location after receiving e-mail death threats over his op-ed piece, entitled “What the free world should do in the face of Islamist intimidation.” A suspect was arrested on 17 October, but was released the next day.

In an interview published today in the Dépêche du Midi newspaper, Redeker said French education minister Gilles de Robien should make amends for suggesting that Redeker should have been more prudent. When expressing support for Redeker on 28 September, De Robien said, “a state employee should be prudent and moderate in all circumstances.”

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