Morocco hands four-year sentence to YouTuber, detains journalist

Morocco hands four-year sentence to YouTuber, detains journalist

A Moroccan YouTuber was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for “insulting the king” in a video broadcast on social networks, his lawyer said.

In a separate case, a Moroccan journalist and activist was charged and detained over a tweet that had criticised a court decision, his defence council told reporters.

The cases come after the Moroccan Human Rights Association had deplored in July an “escalation of violations of human rights and public and individual freedoms” in Morocco.

The YouTuber, Mohamed Sekkaki, known as “Moul Kaskita”, was sentenced by a court in the western city of Settat to four years in prison, his lawyer Mohamed Ziane told reporters.

Sekkaki, whose videos usually exceed 100,000 views, was arrested in early December after posting a video in which he insulted Moroccans as “donkeys” and criticised King Mohammed VI, whose is considered “inviolable” under the constitution.

READ: Morocco frees journalist jailed for abortion after royal pardon

Ziani said his client would appeal the verdict.

The conviction of the YouTuber came less than a month after a Moroccan rapper was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting a public official”.

Also on Thursday, journalist Omar Radi, 33, was detained in Casablanca and now faces trial, his lawyer Said Benhammani told reporters. 

He is being prosecuted for a tweet published nine months ago criticising the judge in charge of the case against the leaders of the Hirak protest movement, he said. 

Morocco’s criminal code punishes “insulting magistrates” with imprisonment of between one month and one year. 

The group Reporters Without Borders in its latest annual press freedom index ranked Morocco 135th out of 180 countries.


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