February 20th Movement Illegal says Moroccan Judge
In the latest development in the case of six Moroccan protesters arrested Sunday, a judge has reportedly charged the activists with involvement in the “banned February 20 Movement” among other charges including violence against police. February 20, the online-driven protest movement whose mobilization last year pressured King Mohammed VI to change the constitution, remains legal, but as Samia Errazzouki notes, the judge’s charge “indicates a steep deviation from the regime’s limited tolerance of the Movement” and may signal an effort on behalf of the palace to discreetly suppress the movement altogether. Errazzouki goes on to say that the new constitution’s unclear distinctions between executive power and judicial process make it difficult to discern who is behind the judge’s decision to call the movement illegal.
Meanwhile, an appeals court upheld [French] the one year prison sentence of jailed rapper Mouad Belghawat, also known as El Haqed. Police arrested the 24-year-old for insulting public officials after a video with his song was posted on Youtube in which a police officer was depicted as a donkey. Belghawat, a vocal critic of the monarchy, corruption, and economic inequality, denied any involvement in making the video and his defense team called the charges an attack on freedom of speech in the country.
Also, police detained cartoonist Khalid Gueddar again over another drawing that officials considered insulting to Islam. Gueddar said police interrogated him on his views of Islam, his drawings, and his website for over six hours Monday in Casablanca. According to the Associated Press, Gueddar is the sixth Moroccan journalist to be detained in the last week.