Morocco: Call for solidarity with Mouad Belghouat, known as El Haked
The following letter was sent as a call for solidarity from artists performing at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2012
Statement by Freemuse, Copenhagen, 6 June 2011
Freemuse calls upon artists performing at Fez to show solidarity with your colleague Mouad
Belghouat, known as El Haked (also spelled Lhaqed or al-Haqed), who was arrested on 29 March 2012 because of a YouTube-video with a photo of a policeman whose head has been replaced with a donkey’s. The lyrics denounce police corruption.
Belghouat has denied any connection to the video, saying unknown people made it, set it to Belghouat’s music, and posted it. A separate recording of Belghouat rapping ‘Kilab ed-Dowla’, but without any of the controversial visuals, is on YouTube.
“According to Human Rights Watch, this case is about freedom of expression,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch: “Every day that Belghouat spends in prison is a reminder of the distance between Morocco’s laws and practices and the rights guaranteed in its new constitution.”
Freemuse advocates freedom of expression for music creators. Freemuse does not advocate cultural boycotts. Audiences all over the world should have access to great music from all over the world; but behind the beautiful surroundings of the Sacred Music Festival is a repressive state.
We call upon you to show your solidarity with Mouad Belghouat by either:
– sending him a greeting from the stage
– dedicating one of you songs to him, or
– mentioning his name at your press conferences