Morocco Jails Youtuber, Detains Journalist

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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 AFP.

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 AFP.

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.

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 AFP.

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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A Moroccan YouTuber was arrested and appeared in court Tuesday for “insulting Moroccans and constitutional institutions” in a video, the kingdom’s public prosecutor announced.

Mohamed Sekkaki, known as Moul Kaskita, was detained on Sunday after publishing a video in which he criticised King Mohammed VI, considered “inviolable” by the kingdom’s constitution.

In the 12 minute YouTube video, Sekkaki said the monarch’s speeches were not followed by results, while Moroccans suffered from clientelism and nepotism.

Sekkaki, whose frequent broadcasts normally attract over 100,000 views, also insulted his compatriots, calling them ignorant and donkeys who “watch their rights being flouted without saying a word”.

The public prosecutor said it had “received several complaints” from citizens concerned by the video, which “included insults and degrading descriptions”.

When Sekkaki was arrested in the city of Settat south of Casablanca, “a small amount of drugs” was found in his possession, the prosecutor said.

He will be prosecuted for “public insults against individuals, indecent exposure through obscene gestures and behaviour, contempt of constitutional institutions and possession of drugs”.

“Many of the expressions in this video have nothing to do with freedom of expression and constitute crimes punishable by law,” the prosecutor said.

Sekkaki “received significant transfers of money from abroad in return for his activities”, the prosecutor claimed.

His arrest comes less than a week after a Moroccan rapper was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting a public official” in a video published online.

Mohamed Mounir, known as Gnawi, was arrested last month shortly after publishing a song denouncing injustice and money-grabbing that attacked the king directly.

AFP