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Moroccan Citizen Sentenced for Insulting King on Social Media

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BNN Correspondents
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Moroccan Citizen Sentenced for Insulting King on Social Media

In a decision that has sparked debate about freedom of speech in Morocco, Sa"d Boukioud was sentenced to three years in prison by an appellate court due to his social media posts criticizing the king and the kingdom's foreign policy. The posts, which have since been removed from Facebook, questioned Morocco's decision to normalize relations with Israel, a move overseen by the Moroccan King, Mohammed VI.

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The Offense and the Conviction

Boukioud was initially handed a five-year sentence in August for his actions, but the Casablanca Court of Appeal later reduced this. The court reclassified the offense from one against the state to an offense against the person of the king. This decision underlines the sensitivity of commentary on Morocco's monarchy, as insulting the royal family is considered a criminal offense under the nation's laws.

The Role of the Monarchy in Moroccan Governance

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King Mohammed VI holds constitutional authority over foreign policy, making the decision to normalize relations with Israel. This move has drawn criticism from various quarters, including Boukioud, who voiced his views on social media. The consequences of his actions bring into focus the country's laws regarding speech about the royal family and its role in governance.

Removed from the Platform

The Facebook posts that led to Boukioud's conviction have been removed from the platform. It is unclear whether this decision was made by Facebook or by Boukioud himself. This incident highlights the tension between freedom of speech and the respect for national laws and norms, a balance that social media platforms continually grapple with.

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