Category: all things moroccan
Regular readers of this blog will likely remember the name of Fouad Mourtada, the young engineer who was arrested and allegedly tortured by the Moroccan government because he created a fake profile of the crown prince. The charges are not under question; what is under question, however, is the legal process by which this young man was arrested, tried, and sentenced for a youthful prank. If you live in D.C., here is a chance to make your voice heard. A protest will be taking place in front of the Embassy of Morocco this coming Saturday, March 1st:
Location: Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco
Time: Saturday, March 1st. 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Address : 1601 21st Street, NW, Washington DC 20009
Directions: Yahoo Maps
There is also a Facebook link. (I bet the irony will go unnoticed by Mourtada’s jailers.)
As a reminder: Tomorrow, I will be hosting Moroccan journalist Boubker Jamaï at the University of California, Riverside (HMNSS 1500, 11:00 am) for a talk on democratization. The talk is free and open to the public, so if you’re in the Southern California area, please come.
I have an opinion piece up at The Nation website about the imprisonment of Fouad Mourtada in Casablanca two weeks ago. Here is how it begins:
On the morning of February 5, plainclothes officers in Morocco picked up Fouad Mourtada in Casablanca, blindfolded him, and took him to the police station, where they reportedly tortured him until he lost consciousness. His crime: He had created a Facebook profile of Crown Prince Moulay Rachid, the King’s brother.
Mourtada is 26. He did what millions of other people his age do every day–create profiles, real or fake, on social networking websites. There are fake profiles on Facebook for everyone from Brad Pitt to Mother Teresa, from King Abdullah to Osama bin Laden. There are 500 profiles for George W. Bush. Mourtada did not appear to think he was committing any crime. Indeed, despite being a computer engineer, with a degree from the prestigious École Mohammedia des Ingénieurs, he did not use a proxy server to protect his identity. Nor did he derive any profit, monetary or otherwise, from the Facebook profile. It may have been a youthful prank or a twenty-first-century homage, but either way it landed him in jail.
You can read the entire piece over at The Nation. The court is due to reconvene today, and I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail.
Updated to say that Fouad Mourtada has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Next Tuesday, I will be hosting Moroccan journalist Boubker Jamaï at the University of California, Riverside, for a talk on democratization.
The talk is free and open to the public, so if you’re in the Southern California area, please join us for a lively discussion. Those of you who are unfamiliar with Jamai can read this (poorly titled) article by Jane Kramer in the New Yorker.