3 July 2014

Morocco: A New Prison Sentence Against Rapper and "February 20 Movement" Member Moaaz Belghoua "Al-Haqed"

Photo: IFEX
Rapper Mouad Belghouat

press release

Cairo — Today, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the ruling issued by Casablanca Court of First Instance against rapper Moaaz Belghoua -nicknamed Al-Haqed- to jail him for four months with force besides a fine.

During its hearing held on Tuesday July 1, Casablanca Court of First Instance sentenced rapper and "February 20 Movement" member Moaaz Belghoua, known as "Al-Haqed", to four months in jail with implementation; for allegedly being inebriated in public, insulting, and attacking policemen.The court also ordered him to pay a fine and damages for allegedly assaulting two police officers.

Moroccan security bodies detained the rapper, who is known for his criticism of the security apparatus' practices and the Moroccan state policies adopted against citizens, on a trumped-up charge, namely touting match tickets on the black market, and attacking security men while he was going to watch a football match.

"Al-Haqed's detention was, in fact, a punishment for his latest album titled "Wa-alo", in which he criticized the Moroccan regime, corruption, and prison conditions", ANHRI said.

The Arabic Network elaborated that "Al-Haqed had been arrested more than once during the last periods. He was repeatedly carried verdicts against the backdrop of his songs that criticize the Moroccan authorities' practices".

ANHRI stated, "the verdict handed down against rapper Al-Haqed came after a farcical trial marred by manifold legal transgressions, which emphasize that the case is politicized for the purpose of harassing him on account of his anti-Moroccan regime songs. The court disregarded the rapper defense's motions to hear the defense witnesses along with the testimony of the police officers, whom Al-Haqed is accused of attacking them. The court also refused to check the medical report of Al-Haqed and the policemen to make sure of the allegations made against him of being drunk and attacking policemen".

ANHRI calls upon the Moroccan authorities to immediately release Al-Haqed, drop all charges against him, and to ensure his safety.

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