3 Years in Jail for Insult to King in Morocco
On Tuesday, the first instance of Taza court condemned Abdessamad Hidour, an activist of the February 20 movement, to 3 years of prison. Hidour was convicted for “violating the sacred values ”after being recognised in an online video (see above) by the police, showing him criticizing the King of Morocco Mohamed VI . In the video the activist accused the King of dictatorship and corruption. Hidour wanted to defend (in Arabic) himself, as no lawyers from Taza wanted to defend him, “a sign of the deference with which many Moroccans still hold the monarch” according to Reuters.
Hidour is from Taza, a northern town which was torn in violence a couple weeks ago. The clashes between demonstrators and security forces left more than 150 wounded. The youth were protesting against unemployment which reached 9 percent in a region where two out of three people are between 15 and 29 years old. On Tuesday, ten people were sentenced to jail, being charged with “throwing stones at police, destroying public property and public disorder” in the wake of clashes which started on February 1 in Taza.
Meanwhile, a soldier was sentenced (in French) to 3 years in prison by the military court of Rabbat. The soldier, serving the Royal Air Force (RAF), was charged with “divulging professional secrets, infringing the reputation of his superiors and of non-compliance with military regulations.” The soldier glued the picture of his superior’s face on the body of the pop singer Shakira and published it to Facebook. The soldier also tried to raise issues about “dysfunctions” in the RAF.
On its website, the nongovernmental organization Moroccan Association for Human Rights called (in Arabic) for demonstrations on February 20 for “the success of the anniversary of the beginning of the February 20 movement.”