Man Sentenced to Three-Year Jail Term For Criticising King of Morocco on Facebook
A Moroccan Appeal court on Monday sentenced a man to three years in prison for insulting King Mohammed VI in social media posts, criticising normalisation with Israel, the defence attorney said.
Said Boukioud, 48, was initially sentenced in August to five years for Facebook posts in late 2020.
The court in Casablanca reduced the sentence to three years, lawyer El Hassan Essouni told AFP.
He said he planned to appeal to the North African country’s top court, calling the ruling “very excessive”.
Essouni said his client “never had” the intention to offend the king but “wanted to draw attention to the fact that normalisation was not good for Moroccans, nor for the Palestinian cause, nor anyone.”
Morocco and Israel normalised diplomatic relations in December 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords.
As per the Moroccan constitution, foreign affairs were the prerogative of the monarch.
Boukioud’s sentence comes amid growing calls to suspend ties with Israel in its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets Sunday in Casablanca in the country’s latest pro-Palestinian rally, demanding a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the suspension of Moroccan-Israeli ties.
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights said in a report released in August that it had documented “dozens of cases of legal proceedings” against internet users over the past two years.
It said many of these related to posts on social networks criticising the authorities.