A Moroccan court has convicted a student of “violating the sacred values” of the kingdom and sentenced him to three years in prison after a video posted online showed him criticizing the king, the state news agency reported Tuesday.
Abdelsamad Haydour, from Taza, a mountain town 187 miles (300 kilometers) east of the capital that has been a hot spot for violent protests, accused King Mohammed VI of oppressing his people in the 4-minute clip, and also called the monarch a dog, a dictator and a murder.
The monarchy has tolerated widespread protests over the last year, but the latest incident shows that there are still limits to the kind of criticisms permitted.
The video, available on YouTube.com, showed the 24-year-old talking with a friend outside on the street, surrounded by a group of young people. At one point, Haydour points to the camera while making his statements.
“For years they have just been educating us to be consumers and buy the products of the colonizers and their representatives in Rabat,” the Moroccan capital, said Haydour, who also was fined $1,250.
Morocco’s king once was constitutionally considered sacred but under amendments passed in 2011 in response to pro-democracy protests, the wording has been toned down: His person is now described as “inviolable and respect is due him.”
On Feb. 7, another young Moroccan also was charged with attacking “sacred values” when he posted on Facebook mocking cartoons of the king. His trial is pending.