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Moroccan gets three-year jail term on appeal for criticising King online

Moroccan gets three-year jail term on appeal for criticising King online
King Mohammed VI   -  
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Moroccan justice on Monday sentenced an internet user to three years in prison on appeal for insulting the king, after publications on social networks in 2020 criticizing the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel.

Saïd Boukioud, born in 1975, received a five-year prison sentence in August for insulting the monarchy for publications on Facebook, which have since been removed from the platform.

On Monday, the Casablanca Court of Appeal reclassified the facts as an offense against the person of the king and reduced the sentence to three years' imprisonment, his lawyer, Me El Hassan Essouni, told AFP.

Under the terms of the Constitution, Morocco's foreign policy is a prerogative of the monarch, in this case Mohammed VI.

Mr. Boukioud "never had" the intention of offending the king but "wanted to draw attention to the fact that normalization was not good for Moroccans, nor for the Palestinian cause, nor for anyone" , explained his lawyer to AFP.

He considered that the new sentence was “very excessive” and said he intended to appeal to the Court of Cassation.

The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) indicated in August that it had identified, in two years, “dozens of legal proceedings” following in particular publications criticizing the authorities on social networks.

This legal decision comes against the backdrop of the war in the Gaza Strip between Palestinian Hamas and Israel, which has given new impetus in recent weeks to the pro-Palestinian mobilization in Morocco.

On Sunday, there were tens of thousands in the streets of Casablanca demanding the suspension of bilateral relations and a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, while a truce came into force on Friday.

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