A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) released last week describes how Morocco is using a law to control and imprison citizen reporters, by claiming that they do not have the professional credentials necessary to practice journalism.

The report, released on Thursday, described the case of Nezha Khalidi, a member of the citizen journalist organization Equipe Media. She was filming the Moroccan police last December in the Western Sahara, a disputed piece of land that Morocco says it controls. Khalidi said that the Moroccan police were engaging in "repression." Khalidi will go to trial on May 20 due to charges that she misrepresented herself as a journalist as she does not have the proper credentials to legally practice journalism.

HRW strongly condemns Khalidi's detainment.

"People who speak out peacefully should never have to fear prison for 'pretending' to be journalists," HRW Middle East and North Africa director Eric Goldstein said.

Khalidi's arrest is based on Article 381 of the Moroccan penal code which makes it a crime to have a professional title, such as journalist, without having the legal qualifications to practice that profession. HRW said that Article 381, when used with journalism, "is incompatible with Morocco's obligations under international human rights law to respect the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas."

According to Freedom House, freedom of the press is severely restricted in Morocco. Freedom House gives the North African country a 66 out of 100 when it comes to press freedom, with 100 being the most restricted. Journalists who criticize the Moroccan monarchy, Islam and the status of the disputed Western Sahara region could face hefty fines and prison.