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Moroccan YouTuber sentenced to jail for 'insulting' king

YouTuber was arrested for calling Moroccans ignorant [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2019

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The YouTuber Mohamed Sekkaki, known as "Moul Kaskita", was sentenced by a court in the western city of Settat to four years in prison.
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, marking a seeming crackdown on dissent in the North African country.

In a separate case, a Moroccan journalist and activist was also 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 criticised the country in July, remarking on 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, who is considered "inviolable" under the constitution.

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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 the news agency.

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.

Sekkaki was arrested after he released a 12-minute video criticising Morocco, its people, government and king.

The King was a target of Sekkaki's criticism [Getty]

In the video he had said: "Moroccan people are stupid and uneducated. Moroccans only care about buttocks. Moroccans do not know how to vote because they are ignorant. 

He went on to criticise the government and accused its members of corruption, saying that the citizens "do not vote for qualified people to represent them".

His language, which had been considered derogatory, extended to his description of the King, and at one point he parodied a speech he gave, saying the King didn't even know what he was reading.

Sekkaki had predicted his arrest, and at the end of the video said he was "not scared, because [he] is only telling facts".

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