Morocco: Rapper prosecuted over song deemed insulting
The Moroccan rapper Al Muntaqim was arrested in August 2015 and accused of inciting violence and drug abuse through his song ‘Korsika’. He has been released, but his court case is still pending.
In August 2015, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Khenifra city in Morocco instructed the judicial police to immediately arrest the rapper Al Muntaqim (also spelled lmonta9im or Yasin al Muntaqin, also known as The Avenger, and with the real name Yassine Fallate) and place him under sentry.
According to the Moroccan news site Al Ahdath, the arrest was directly linked to the song ‘Korsika’, which the Public Prosecution deemed improper, inciting violence and hatred and posing a threat to public security.
The song, produced by Al Muntaqim and released on youtube.com on 4 July 2015, was claimed to include curses and insults against police forces as well as criticising high profile security officials.
Freemuse is concerned about the continuous arrests of rappers in Morocco.
“Rappers in Morocco – like their colleagues in Tunisia – are ‘musical reporters’ who report from the streets and express many people’s frustrations. Morocco should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov.
Freemuse is in close contact with Association Marocaine des Droits Humains (AMDH) which has appointed a lawyer to follow Al Muntaqim’s case through its local branch. According to AMDH and Akhbarona News, the rapper appeared before the Court of First Instance in Khenifra on 2 September 2015, accused of inciting violence, drug abuse and insulting the security organisations through his song.
The rapper stated that his song addresses the suffering of the youth in al-Kors, the district where he lives. “I paint the reality where I live. I do not incite violence or drug abuse,” Al Muntaqim told Lakom News.
According to AMDH, Al Muntaqim reappeared before court on 14 October 2015. Based on the request of his lawyer, the judge decided to postpone the ruling until 9 December 2015, in order o give the lawyer time to view the case file.
Al Muntaqim was released but is still subject to verdict in December and under surveillance because of the charges against him
Rappers in Morocco are often confronted by authorities and exposed to harassment due to their songs. The past two years Freemuse has campaigned for the release of the Moroccan rapper Abdul Mou’men Al Shuaibi, who was imprisoned after having criticised Moroccan police in a song, and the rapper El Haqed, who has been imprisoned on spurious charges three times, most recently in 2014 because of his popularity and lyrics that condemn corruption and police brutality.
» Chilevision – 31 August 2015:
Juzgarán a rapero marroquí acusado de insultar a la Policía en una canción
» Akhbarona.com – 16 August 2015:
أغنية “كورسيكا” تجر مغني الراب “المنتقم” إلى الاعتقال