Moroccan rapper sentenced to one year in prison for insulting police

RABAT, Amine Regragui and Amr Mostafa (dpa)– A Moroccan rapper was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of insulting the country's police in a social media video.
The verdict against Mohamed Mounir, known as Gnawi, was issued on Monday by a court in Morocco's north-western city of Sale.

Mounir, 31, was arrested on November 1 after he streamed live footage on social media in which he used expletives to complain that he had been mistreated by police.
One of his lawyers, Mohamed Sadkou, expressed fear that the trial was driven by an earlier song recorded by Mounir and two other rappers, in which they tackled social justice and corruption in the kingdom.
The "Aacha al-Chaab" (long live the people) song went viral on social media, gaining around 16 million views on YouTube.  
Another lawyer requested that Mounir be tried under press and publication laws, rather than criminal laws.  
Supporters of Mounir gathered outside the court and chanted slogans demanding his release.
Monday's verdict can be appealed.
Amnesty International in a statement condemned the verdict as "disgraceful."
"Expressing peaceful criticism of the police or the authorities is not a crime," Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said.
"International law protects the right to freedom of expression – even when the opinions shared are shocking or offensive."

Wednesday, November 27th 2019
Amine Regragui and Amr Mostafa (dpa)

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