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Morocco: Blogger Arrested, Sentenced Immediately

This morning, it was reported by the electronic news site Hespress [ar] that blogger Mohammed Raji was arrested in his home in Agadir. An article that Raji had posted on Hespress [ar] is said to be the source of the conflict, though neither that fact nor Raji's arrest have been confirmed outside of the blogosphere.

Morocco's often-critized press law prohibits criticizing of the monarchy; In Raji's article, which has been translated here by Amira al Hussaini, he claims that the King's charity toward his people encourages them to remain helpless rather than work hard. His concluding paragraph reads:

وعندما يرى ولي العهد الصغير الذي سيتولى الحكم في يوم من الأيام كيف أن والده يوزع الهبات والاكراميات والكريمات على الناس بمجرد سماع كلمة إطراء أو مدح ، فلا شك أنه سيتصرف بنفس “المنطق” عندما يحكم ، لذلك فما علينا سوى أن نؤجل أحلامنا بمغرب المساواة وتكافؤ الفرص لغاية حكم الملك محمد السابع الذي سيأتي بعد الحسن الثالث اللي هو ولي العهد حاليا!

When the young Crown Prince, who will become the Ruler one day, witnesses how his father distributes honours, gratuities and gifts to people upon hearing compliments and praise, there is no doubt that he will act based on the same logic, when he rules. This is why we should delay our dreams of a Morocco of equality and equal opportunities until the reign of Mohammad the Seventh, which will follow after Hassan the Third, who is the Crown Prince at present.

A Moroccan About the World Around Him explains the context of the article, saying:

Mohamed’s article, written in Arabic and titled “The King Indulges His Subjects’ dependency,” dealt with the concept of what Moroccans colloquially call “GRIMA”, from the French word “agrément” meaning “an administrative authorization.” Giving ”administrative authorizations” has been a long standing royal tradition in Morocco. Needless to say, such authorizations allow the beneficiary to bypass all set administrative procedures; they discredit all laws and regulations designed to regulate such procedures. But the concept is so ingrained in the Moroccan psyche that you often here Moroccans from all walks of life pray: “May Allah give us a “GRIMA” from Sidna.”

Other bloggers, including A Moroccan in Washington, D.C., zalamite, and Larbi [fr] have covered the story as well.

Hespress has reported that Raji has already been given an expedited hearing and judgement and was sentenced to 2 years in jail as well as fined MAD 5,000 (USD $625). Larbi explains:

Dans un jugement expéditif digne des pays les plus totalitaires au monde, le Tribunal d’Agadir a condamné ce lundi le bloggeur marocain Mohamed Erraji à deux ans de prison ferme et 5000 Dhs d’amendes pour « manquement au respect dû au roi ».

In an expedited trial worthy of the most totalitarian countries in the world, the Agadir tribunal has sentenced Moroccan blogger Mohammed Erraji to 2 years in prison and a 5000dhs fine for “failure of respect due to the King”

A petition for Mohammed Raji's freedom has already been posted here and a Facebook group has been created.

19 comments

  • […] information on this story is available on Global Voices Advocacy and here. A petition is also available here for those interested to sign, which calls for the bloggers […]

  • Renata Avila

    Thank you so much for the fast information you provided. An expedite trial leaves no room for social activism to help the blogger, and might be a dangerous example to follow by other countries with same or similar restrictions.

  • […] Youth [En]. Estes dois artigos do Global Voices em Inglês fazem uma cobertura do assunto: “Blogueiro Preso e Sentenciado Imediatamente” [En], “O Post que Levou Mohammed Raji para a Cadeia” […]

  • […] information on this story is available on Global Voices Advocacy and here. A petition is also available here for those interested to sign, which calls for the bloggers […]

  • […] informações sobre esta história estáo disponíveis no Global Voices Advocacy [En] e aqui também [En]. Uma petição pela libertação do blogueiro está disponível aqui [En], para aqueles […]

  • Makokko: Blogger zu zwei Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt…

    Bildquelle: Wikipedia

    Der marokkanische Blogger Mohamed Erraji (auch als “Mohammed Raji” geschrieben) wurde zu zwei Jahren Gefängnis und einer Strafe von umgerechnet 430 € verurteilt.
    Ein Gericht in Agadir hat den 32-Jä…

  • Pingback: Jillian C. York

    […] whole story is covered on Global Voices. A number of bloggers have said their piece as well; check out Berberus (new North Africa […]

  • That is a great story and thanks for getting it out so fast. It is so dangerous to blog in some countries, we applaud all those who continue to publish in the face of such extreme measures.

  • […] Moroccans rejoiced at the news that Mohammed Erraji, the blogger who was arrested and quickly jailed, has been let out on bail. But the rejoicing was short-lived, as bloggers discuss a system mired in […]

  • […] Moroccans rejoiced at the news that Mohammed Erraji, the blogger who was arrested and quickly jailed, has been let out on bail. But the rejoicing was short-lived, as bloggers discuss a system mired in […]

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