One-year prison sentence upheld for Moroccan rapper El-Haqed
Casablanca’s tribunal’s court of appeal upheld the maximum penalty for defaming the police. Once again, the Moroccan justice showed its severity. It then appears clear that the government wants to see famous rapper Mouad Belghouat, aka El-Haqed, sitting behind bars.
His 48-hour hunger strike did not change the sternness of the justice. In addition to the prison sentence, El-Haqed must also pay a 1.000 dirham fine (around 90 Euros).
Mouad Belghouat, bane of the monarchy, stopped eating for two days in the beginning of July to protest against his conditions of detention. He declared himself victim of harassment by his cellmates , said that he was not allowed to make any phone calls and complained that his cell was constantly searched by the prison guards.
Gagged until his trial
The first verdict was delivered without the possibility for the young artist to make a final statement. During the trial, neither the young man nor his lawyers were there. When his attorney arrived at the court, it was already too late. The session had been brought forward. Deliberations had begun already, reason why the court refused to allow the attorney to make a final statement. Before the courthouse, El-Haqed fans expressed their support the whole time.
Belghouat was arrested on March 29. Famous for singing against corruption and social injustice, Belghouat was being accused for insulting state employees and official institutions. In one of his songs, broadcasted on Youtube (now removed), “Kilaab Addawla”, the video shows an officer with a donkey’s face. Belghouat’s lawyer said the video editing that goes along with the song was fabricated and shared by someone else. He added that the whole case was just a political attack whose goal was to take down a well-known activist.
Figurehead of the Feb20 movement
“El-Haqed” means “The Rancorous One”. The 24-year-old rapper was in the vanguard of the February 20th movement and is one of its best-known figures. Mouad Belghouat has already been sentenced in, to a four-months prison time for assault, a sentence which he had already served whilst on remand for ”attacking a counter-demonstrator” on 10 September 2011.
The following video also features the song “Kilaab Addawla”, but with a different editing:
We realised a portrait of Mouad in our webdocumentary “Generation Revolution”:
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