#Human Rights
HRW , Amnesty International , Moroccian Parliament , EU , UN

Morocco: Free Student Imprisoned for ‘Insulting’ King

Despite 2011 Constitutional Guarantees,
Repressive Laws Still in Force

HRW JULY 16, 2013

(Rabat) – Morocco’s authorities should free a student convicted of offending the dignity of the king, Human Rights Watch said today. Two years after adopting a constitution that enshrines freedom of expression, Morocco should abolish the repressive laws that put him in prison.

Abdessamad Haydour, 24, is halfway through a three year sentence for denouncing King Mohammed VI in a video posted on YouTube. He has now served more time behind bars for this offense than any other Moroccan in the last several years, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine.

If Morocco intends to carry out its new constitutional guarantees of free expression, it needs to get rid of laws that send people to jail for offending the head of state, even if what they say seems crude,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Morocco’s constitution, drafted in the wake of 2011 pro-reform demonstrations that toppled presidents in Egypt and Tunisia and reached Moroccan cities, was adopted by a referendum on July 1, 2011. It guarantees “freedom of thought, opinion, and expression in all its forms.” The 2011 constitution also departs from previous constitutions by no longer defining the “person of the king” as “sacred,” although it declares it “inviolable” and “owed respect.”

Government ministers have spoken of the need to revise Morocco’s press law, to harmonize it with the new constitution by eliminating prison terms for nonviolent speech offenses. However, the press law has yet to be revised, and Moroccan courts continue to apply its provisions, and provisions of the penal code, to imprison people for nonviolent offenses of speech against the king, state institutions, and private individuals.



Immediate & Unconditional Release of Abdessamad Haydour.

The Morocco: Free Abdessamad Haydour petition to HRW , Amnesty International , Moroccian Parliament , EU , UN was written by Anette Meyer and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.