Pardon for Man Who Impersonated Moroccan Prince

March 20, 2008 09:40 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Fouad Mourtada escaped a three-year prison sentence for impersonating the Moroccan king’s brother on Facebook. Morocco has harsh media restrictions.

30-Second Summary

The pardon was issued just before the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a traditional time of forgiveness and a public holiday in Morocco.

The arrest, which took place in February, put a renewed focus on the kingdom’s tight reins on media.

Morocco’s Press Law was expanded in 2002 to make illegal any insult to Islam, the royal family or reference to the territory of Western Sahara as an independent country. Activist Nadia Yassine faces thousands of dollars in fines and jail time for her suggestion in a national paper that Morocco become a republic.

In addition, the fact that Mourtada used Facebook to impersonate the Moroccan prince highlights how social networking sites have been used as forums for both unsavory activities and practical jokes.

For example, Fisher College student Cameron Walker was expelled after he tried to get a campus police officer fired. He wrote on his Facebook page, “Either we get a petition going … or we try and set him up.”

On a lighter note, Kyle Stoneman pulled one over on the campus police at George Washington University when a beer party he advertised on Facebook turned out to have cakes—not kegs—as its main attraction. “The look on the faces of the cops was priceless," he said.

Headline Link: ‘Morocco “Facebook Prince” Pardon’

Background: Media restrictions in Morocco

Related Topics: Social networking activities attract police


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