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Morocco activist sentenced to 2 years in prison for 'offending the king'

May 26, 2023 at 10:37 am

King Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco [Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]

A Moroccan court has sentenced activist Saida El Alami to two years in prison due to statements deemed offensive to the monarch and the judiciary, her defence team said yesterday. This is in addition to the three-year prison term she has previously received for posts on Facebook.

Her lawyer, Ahmed Ait Bnasser, said that El Alami “was prosecuted under two provisions of the penal code which punish insulting the king, members of the judiciary or public officials, following statements she previously made while being interrogated during her trial.” He added that the Casablanca First Instance Court decided on Wednesday night to sentence her to two years in prison.

The 49-year-old activist was arrested in March 2022 after she was charged with several offences such as “publishing and distributing false allegations and facts against individuals to defame them,” and “insulting public officials while carrying out their duties,” following her posts on Facebook. In her first case, she was sentenced to two years in prison, before the sentence was raised to three years on appeal.

Her posts included criticism of security officials and “corruption in the judiciary,” as mentioned by Amnesty International. Her lawyer, Souad Brahma, said, “We currently do not know whether the two sentences will be combined or not, given that the sentence in the second case is not final.”

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