Moroccan artists persecuted, imprisoned when crossing red lines: UPR report

Morocco should replace unclear and vague provisions in the Penal Code and decriminalize the so-called “red line” offenses, according to a new joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process by Freemuse and Racines – two civil society organizations defending artistic freedom in Morocco and globally. COPENHAGEN/CASABLANCA, 17 OCTOBER 2016 | Morocco often […]

Morocco: News site publishes blacklist of artists with alleged ties to Israel

On 9 September 2016, Moroccan news site Noon Presse published its own blacklist of seven Moroccan performers and artists who have “normalised” relations with Israel, which means, according to the site, that the artists have chosen “to go against the flow” by “unashamedly visiting Israel or communicating with Israelis”. The blacklist includes three musicians, two […]

Morocco: Writer fined, sentenced for defamation over characters in novel

The trial court in the central Moroccan province of Ouarzazate sentenced writer Aziz Benhadouch on 2 August 2016 to a two-month suspended prison sentence, levied a 1,000 Dirham (approx. USD $100) fine and ordered he pay 20,000 Dirhams (approx. USD $2,035) in compensation to plaintiffs over his 2014 novel ‘The Island of Males’, reported rights […]

Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015 Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries. In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of […]

Morocco: Prosecuted rapper cleared of all charges

The Moroccan rapper Al Muntaqim was arrested in August 2015 accused of inciting violence and drug abuse through his song ‘Korsika’. On 9 December 2015 the court cleared him of all charges. In August 2015, the Public Prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Khenifra city in Morocco instructed the judicial police to immediately […]

Morocco: Film actress attacked, humiliated and exiled

The Moroccan actress Lubna Abidar who starred in the movie ‘Zin li fik’ (‘Much Loved’) has been violently attacked in Morocco and has consequently fled to France to seek asylum in a European country. Lubna Abidar was reported to have left her country on 8 November 2015, travelling to France, after being attacked and injured […]

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 […]

Lebanon: Documentary film with Sahrawi artists banned

The film ‘Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ has been banned in Lebanon. All screenings at Beirut Film Fest have been cancelled. ‘Life Is Waiting’ is a new film by director Iara Lee, who asked Sahrawi activists and artists to give answers to questions such as: ‘What will it take for the […]

Morocco: Continued harrasment and banning of performances

In Morocco, performances of the theatre piece ‘B7al B7al’ have repeatedly been interrupted and banned: On 13 June 2015 in Rabat, on 4 and 5 July in Tangiers, and then on 1 August in Fez. ‘B7al B7al’ is a creation of the Theatre of the Oppressed company from Casablanca – Théatre de l’Opprimé Casablanca – […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed – besieged, alienated and oppressed

Freemuse interview with the Moroccan rapper El Haqed, who was awarded with the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Arts. By Shaima Aly Mouad Belghouat (also spelled: Belrhouate) is better known under his artist name, El Haqed – the now world-famous Moroccan rapper and human rights activist who criticises the widespread poverty […]

Morocco: Director and actress summoned to court

French-Moroccan director of the new film ‘Much Loved’ (‘Zine Li Fik’), Nabil Ayouch, and Moroccan leading actress Loubna Abidar have been summoned to court in their native country for a hearing on 15 July 2015, Moroccan World News reported. Loubna Abidar plays a prostitute in the film, which follows the daily lives of four street workers in Marrakech. […]

Morocco: Police blocks concert with rapper El Haqed

On 19 June 2015, a concert with the Morrocan rapper El Haqed was called off with 48 hours notice by the police in Casablanca. Right before the beginning of the show, Police allegedly blocked streets leading to the venue and asked the local power provider to cut electricity. The concert was organised at L’Uzine, a […]

Morocco: Rapper speaks out after release from prison

After four months behind bars, the Moroccan rapper Abdul Mou’men Al Shuaibi was released in February 2015. Freemuse spoke with Al Shuaibi about his ordeal and his plans for the future.  Back in 2013, Al Shuaibi had released a rap song, entitled ‘zan9a lkahla 2013 Chorta Fe Lara’ criticising the local police, their alleged violent practices […]

Morocco: Rapper Al Shuaibi reportedly released from prison

After six months imprisonment at the Civil Prison in El Araich city, the Moroccan rapper Al Shuaibi was set free on 27 February 2015, reported larache24.com. After his release from prison, Al Shuaibi made a public statement to larache24.com, saying that he will proceed with his “call for justice and rights” in his next songs, […]

Russia, China and Turkey top yearly list of music freedom violations

Freemuse monitored and documented violations of freedom of expression for musicians on www.freemuse.org in 2014. Musicians around the world are facing imprisonment, attacks, and censorship in attempts by government and non-state actors to silence the music. In 2014, Freemuse registered a total number of 90 attacks and violations against musicians’ rights to musical freedom of expression. […]

Morocco/UAE/Egypt: Film ‘Exodus’ banned for “historical inaccuracies”

The Ridley Scott film ‘Exodus’ has been banned in countries across the Middle East. The film, which has been criticised widely for its ‘whitewashing’, has now been pulled in Morocco, Egypt and the UAE. However, the reasons being given for the film’s ban all seem to be different. For instance, in Egypt the Cultural Minister […]

Morocco: 17-year-old rapper released after three months imprisonment

Othman Atiq, a 17-year-old Moroccan rapper known as Mr Crazy, was released on 12 November 2014 after completing a three-month sentence for “offending a state institution,” “harming public morality,” and other offenses related to his lyrics.
 Atiq, whose songs and music videos depict the gritty lives of Casablanca’s unemployed youth, is the second performer in […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed speaks of freedom and flaws

If the Moroccan authorities meant to silence the dissident Moroccan rapper El Haqed by locking him up in a prison cell on trumped up charges, it didn’t work. The first thing he wanted to do when he stepped out in freedom after four months imprisonment was go to the studio and record more of the […]

Morocco: Dissident rapper Mouad El Haqed released

Having served his third prison sentence since Morocco’s February 20th Movement uprising started, Morocco’s dissident rapper Mouad Belghouat known by his stage name El Haqed has been released from Ain Borja prison in Casablanca on 18 September 2014. By Nadir Bouhmouch, Freemuse Arrested on 18 May 2014, El Haqed was charged by a lower Casablanca […]

Morocco: Imprisoned rapper El Haqed on two-day hunger strike

On 13-15 August 2014, the Moroccan rapper and member of the 20 February protest movement did a 48-hour hunger protest against “humiliating treatment” in prison, reported Huffington Post. Relatives said that El Haqed (also spelled: Lhaqed. Real name: Mouad Belghouat) undergoes considerable psychological pressure from the staff of the prison. On 1 July 2014, El […]

Morocco: Open letter to Moroccan minister about El Haqed

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’ – was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because of his popularity and lyrics that condemn corruption and police brutality. Arrested on […]

Morocco: The government’s “war” on young filmmakers

In this article the Moroccan filmmaker Nadir Bouhmouch describes the background for the current arrests of young filmmakers, actors and hip-hop artists in Mohammedia, Morocco. The article highlights a problem that plagues young Moroccan filmmakers and forces them to break the law in order to produce films. By Nadir Bouhmouch   Morocco’s war on art […]

Morocco: Take action against El Haqed’s unfair prison sentence

Take action to help create public pressure for the immidiate release of the Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed, ‘the enraged one’: El Haqed was sentenced on 1 July 2014 to four months in prison amid concerns that the trial was unfair, and that he is being held because […]

Morocco: Rapper sentenced to four months in prison

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed – has been sentenced to four months in prison. He is furthermore to pay a fine of 1,350 euros to the two police officers he was accused of attacking. An accusation of selling tickets in the black market was removed. The verdict […]

Morocco: Rapper in trial that seems to never end

Within just one week, the Moroccan rapper El Haqed has appeared twice at the trial court of Ain Sebaa, Casablanca. After which the trial was postpone once again, this time until Tuesday 17 June 2014. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca Accused of illegal ticket sales, of being influenced by alcohol in public and of […]

Morocco: El Haqed’s hearing postponed

On 5 June 2014, Mouad Belghouate, the Moroccan rapper known as El Haqed or Lhaqed, passed by the trial court of Ain Sebaa in Casablanca, Morocco, for the third time since his arrest on 18 May 2014. Freemuse attended the hearing. By Dounia Benslimane, reporting from Casablanca At the entrance of the building, plain clothes […]

Morocco: Interview with attorney of arrested rapper El Haqed

The detained Moroccan rapper El Haqed will stand trial again on 29 May 2014. Freemuse talked with El Haqed’s attorney, Mohemed Messoudi, who provides new information about the case.  By Daniel Brown   Could you describe the circumstances of El Haqed’s arrest? “Haqed was arrested on Sunday 18 May at around 2pm along with his […]

Freemuse condemns arrest of Morocco’s ‘musical reporter’

Freemuse condemns the arbitrary arrest of artist and human rights activist Mouad Belghouat, alias El Haqed (The Indignant) also known as L7a9ed on Sunday 18 May 2014 – for the third time in three years. “Morocco should live up to international conventions guaranteeing free speech,” says Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. El Haqed has earlier been […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haqed arrested again

The Moroccan rapper El Haqed – also known as ‘L7a9ed’ – has been arrested again by Moroccan authorities, reported BelmKaddem. Belmkaddem – 19 May 2014: Moroccan Rapper El Haqed – L7a9ed – Arrested again by Moroccan Authorities By repetitively arresting and beating an artist who doesn’t sugar-coat Morocco’s dark side, and uses rap as a […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haked is finally free

After being arrested twice and serving a one year jail term for his critical lyrics ‘Kilab ed-Dowla’ (‘Dogs of the State’), Mouad Belghouat, whose alias is El Haked (also spelled: Haqed), is finally free, reported Jadaliyya on 2 April 2013. El Haked’s trial attracted huge crowds and brought international and national scrutiny on the supposed […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haked’s sentence upheld in court of appeal

On 27 July 2012, the Casablanca court of appeal upheld the one year prison sentence given to rapper El Haked in May. The court confirmed that his police-critical song circulating on Youtube together with a ridiculing photo-montage was ‘detrimental to public servants’.  24-year-old rapper Mouad Belghouate, known as El Haked

One year prison sentence for Morrocan rapper who criticised police

The sentencing of a rapper on 11 May 2012 to one year in prison for “insulting the police” shows the gap between the strong free-expression language in Morocco’s 2011 constitution and the continuing intolerance for those who criticise state institutions, Human Rights Watch stated. Statement and report from Rabat by Human Rights Watch The sentence […]

 

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