A Moroccan YouTuber has been arrested and sentenced to four years in prison for ‘insulting the king’ in a video broadcast across social networks, his lawyer said.
Social media star Mohamed Sekkaki was sentenced by a court in the western city of Settat on December 26 after posting a video in which he called Moroccans ‘donkeys’ and criticised King Mohammed VI, whose is considered ‘inviolable’ under the constitution.
The YouTuber, who is known as Moul Kaskita, will now spend four years in prison for the broadcast, his lawyer Mohamed Ziane confirmed.
Mr Sekkaki, whose videos usually exceed 100,000 views, was arrested in early December after posting a controversial 12 minute video in which he said the leader’s speeches were not followed by results.
His lawyer Mr Ziane has said his client would appeal the verdict.
The conviction of the YouTuber comes less than a month after Moroccan rapper Mohamed Mounir, widely known as Gnawi, was sentenced to a year in prison for ‘insulting a public official’.
The musician, who is currently being held in Laârjate prison in Salé, Morocco, was arrested on November 1 and charged with ‘offending’ public officials after he posted a video in which he insulted the police
In a separate case on Thursday, a Moroccan journalist and activist was charged and detained over a tweet that had criticised a court decision, his defence council said.
Journalist Omar Radi, 33, was detained in Casablanca and 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 now faces trial, his lawyer Said Benhammani confirmed.
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.
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.