- A Moroccan schoolboy has been jailed for declaring his affection for a Spanish football team instead of 'The King', a move highly condemned by local human rights group.
Eighteen-years old Yassine Bellassal was handed an 18 months prison sentence by Moroccan by courts in Marrakesh, for writing motto "God, my homeland and Barça" on the school blackboard, an act interpreted as disrespect to king and a corruption of national motto of Morocco "God, my homeland and the King".
According to Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), headmaster of Aiit Orir School came into classroom while Yassine was writing on the board and immediately rushed to report him to police.
ANHRI further criticised school headmaster for turning into police informer instead of discussing matter with the boy himself.
The group continued that police referred him to public prosecutor, who immediately took matter to court, without benefit of a lawyer and without informing his family. The boy was for lack of respect to king.
ANHRI asks, "Has this boy committed a crime? Should he be sent to jail for such behavior? When did school headmasters turn into informers? The label of criminal which they have attached to this pupil more appropriately fits the behavior of those who have sent him to jail. They have forgotten the value of dialogue and respect for freedom of expression," said human rights group further calling for immediate release of Yassine Bellassal without delay.
Morocco is notorious for its heavy hand on freedom of expression as well as of media, with many have faced the wrath of a lop-sided law that human rights groups say lacks fundamental principles to a fair trail.
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