In-article:

In Morocco, four years in prison for an activist and citizen journalist accused of having criticized the king

A Moroccan activist, Rabie Al-Ablaq, was sentenced on Monday April 25 to four years in prison for ” insulted “ towards King Mohammed VI on social networks, we learned from his defense. “The Al-Hoceima Court of First Instance [nord] sentenced Rabie Al-Ablaq to four years in prison for insulting the person of the king by electronic means”his lawyer Abdelmajid Azaryah told AFP.

This 35-year-old citizen activist and journalist will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 dirhams (about 1,900 euros). His lawyer has announced his intention to appeal. Mr. Al-Ablaq appeared free before the Al-Hoceima court where his trial opened on 11 April.

On Facebook and YouTube

The accused was prosecuted for having published “videos criticizing social disparities and corruption”according to his lawyer. “I was shocked by this verdict because it [M. Al Ablaq] only expressed his opinion. I don’t think he harmed the institution [royale]. »

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the indictment arose from two videos, posted on Facebook and YouTube in September and November 2021, in which Mr. Al-Ablaq “addressed the king in a familiar tone and underlined the contrast between his personal wealth and the widespread poverty in Morocco”.

“Penalizing peaceful criticism of those in power is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression”underlined the human rights NGO in a recent press release, calling for the abandonment of the charges against the activist.

Read also: Morocco: Amnesty International denounces the “restrictions” against freedom of expression

In 2018, Rabie Al-Ablaq was imprisoned and then sentenced to five years in prison for his participation in the protest movement that agitated the Moroccan region of Rif (north) in 2016-2017 before being pardoned by the king in 2020.

Another Moroccan human rights activist, Saïda El-Alami, 48, who regularly posted critical posts against the authorities on social media, was arrested on March 23 and is being prosecuted for “contempt of public officials in the exercise of their functions”, “attack on justice” and “spreading false allegations”. The verdict is expected Friday.

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The World with AFP

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