A 24-year-old in Morocco has been found in violation of the country’s “sacred values” and sentenced to three years in prison after he criticized the king in a video posted on the Internet. In the video, Abdelsamad Haydour called King Mohammed VI a dictator, a murderer and a dog, and he accused the ruler of oppression, the Associated Press reported.
Like many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Morocco has seen widespread Arab Spring protests during the past year. Turmoil over unemployment in Morocco has led to particularly intense protests, including the self-immolation of several Moroccans in January 2012 that, in one case, resulted in a death, according to the AP.
For people in Morocco younger than 34, the unemployment rate is at least 30 percent, the AP reported.
Although protests by unemployed youths in Morocco are common, this month in Haydour’s town of Taza, confrontations between youths and security forces turned violent. They resulted in dozens of arrests for vandalism and destruction of public property. At least 17 people received prison sentences for the damage, the AP reported.
Haydour is not the first youth in Morocco to face such legal action. An 18-year-old was sent to a juvenile detention center earlier this month ahead of his trial on charges of “defaming Morocco’s sacred values” in videos and images he posted on Facebook, Global Voices reported.
More recently, a day before the one-year anniversary of when Morocco's #Feb20 movement for democracy began, thousands of anti-government demonstrators protested, Al Jazeera reported.
For more on the Arab Spring developments in Morocco, see this story by the Associated Press.