Morocco: Rapper El Haked is finally set free


NEWS

12 January 2012


Morocco:
El Haked is finally set free


After spending more than four months in jail, rapper Mouad El Haked is finally a free man. He received a conditional release until his case is to be continued in the court. The 24-year old rapper is one of the monarchy’s most audacious critics and has gained a lot of popularity among the Moroccan youth.

El Haked has served a four-month sentence and paid a fine of 500 dirhams for assault charges that his lawyers claim to be a ploy to muzzle the popular singer.

Activist Omar Radi told the news agency Reuters that El Haked walked out of prison shouting “Long live the people!” Pictures shows a large crowd gathered for the occasion. His trial has had a lot of followers supporting him, manifesting in the streets of Casablanca and reporting about the trial through blogs and on Facebook.

A prisoner of concience
Mouad El Haked was arrested in September 2011, accused of attacking Mohamed Dali, a man from the militant monarchist movement. He was denied release on bail, and the trial was adjourned six times. The case has received a lot of criticism, and Reuters writes that Morocco’s main human rights group AMDH considers El Haked to have been a prisoner of conscience.

Many well-known Moroccans have signed a petition demanding the release of the rapper. They point out that the reasons for his arrest seems more likely to be linked to his political activities or to the lyrics of his subversive songs.



People supporting El Haked upon his release from jail


Angry monarchists
El Haked has become one of the strongest voices of the Moroccan protest movement. Inspired by the Arab world uprisings, his lyrics speaks about an independent judiciary, a crackdown on corruption and is demanding a constitutional monarchy. The rapper has gained a lot of popularity among young Moroccans, but many monarchists have been angered. In one song El Haked says that the king spends so much time giving orders that he has little time counting his money in Switzerland.

Contradictions
The supporters of Mouad El Haked claim that the case is full of contradictions. During the trial, his lawyers has pointed out the complainant can be found on pictures from a demonstration at the same time that he has claimed to be in the hospital because of the injuries inflicted on him. Mohamed Dali has also claimed to have been in a coma after the assault, but at the time of the coma he was already at a police station deposing his complaint. “The charges are a farce”, says Khadija Ryadi from Moroccos human rights group AMDH, to Reuters.



Photos: from El Haked’s support group ‘Liberté pour Mouad L7a9ed’



Morocco



Mouad El Haked – L7a9ed


Sources

Reuters  – 12 January 2012:

‘Outspoken Moroccan rapper freed’

El Haked support campaign – continually updated:

‘Liberté pour Mouad L7a9ed’


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