A Moroccan court sentenced rapper Mohamed Mounir, known as Gnawi, to one year in jail for insulting police on social media.
A defence lawyer said he believed that his client was prosecuted because of a song he co-wrote about the hardships of young people in Morocco, unemployment and corruption.
The song “Aach al Chaab” — which means long live the people, has been viewed more 15 million times on YouTube since it was released last month.
The lyrics denounce injustice and money-grabbing and attack Morocco´s king directly, which according to local media constitutes a clear breach of the kingdom’s “red lines”.
However, the court in Sale near the capital Rabat sentenced Gnawi to one year in jail and fined him 1,000 dirhams ($103) for “insulting a public servant”, a police official said.
Gnawi, who was arrested on November 1, said he had insulted the police in a video which he posted on his Instagram account because he had been “humiliated” by them.
“I am an artist. My job is to defend my rights and the rights of the people. It was not the first time that I had been humiliated by the police,” Gnawi told the court.
The case has sparked condemnation from rights groups and outrage on social media.
Young people make up a third of Morocco´s 35 million inhabitants.
A quarter of those aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed and out of school, according to official figures.