Morocco court upholds rapper`s 4-month jail term
An appeals court in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on Monday upheld a four-month jail sentence imposed on pro-reform rapper Mouad Belghawat for assaulting police, a judicial source said.
Rabat: An appeals court in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on Monday upheld a four-month jail sentence imposed on pro-reform rapper Mouad Belghawat for assaulting police, a judicial source said.
On his release in September after serving the full term, the 26-year-old known as Lhaqed -- The Rancorous One in Arabic -- said he planned to appeal to prove his innocence and that he had been the victim of assault.
The judicial source said the prosecution also appealed the initial sentence against the rapper, who has now served three prison terms.
Belghawat was arrested at a football match in May and accused of drunkenness in public, assaulting security agents and touting tickets on the black market.
He was also ordered to pay 15,000 dirhams ($1,720, 1,400 euros) to the two policemen he allegedly assaulted as well as a 500-dirham fine.
Human Rights Watch at the time warned of political motives behind his jailing and demanded that any appeals trial admit key evidence the judge had rejected in convicting him on July 1.
The musician was a public face of the February 20 movement in 2011 born out of the Arab Spring protests sweeping the region and demanding extensive reforms in Morocco.
Authorities contend that most of their demands were met in a new constitution adopted later that year at the initiative of King Mohamed VI.
Lhaqed in 2012-2013 served a one-year jail term for a YouTube video of a song he wrote called "Dogs of the State," which denounced police corruption and was deemed an affront to Morocco`s entire police force.
The video showed a policeman with the head of a donkey.