Good governance and rule of law

Sentenced on 15 August to two years in prison for “undermining the Islamic religion by electronic means” by the court of first instance in Oued Zem, east of Casablanca, blogger Fatima Karim, 39, “went on a hunger strike 13 days ago to protest against the harsh sentence,” a family member told AFP.

Fatima Karim began her hunger strike the day after the appeal court announced its verdict upholding the prison sentence. During her trial, the blogger had asserted her right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Moroccan Constitution, while publicly apologising to “anyone who felt offended” by her publications, assuring that she never intended to undermine Islam, the state religion in Morocco.

Article 267-5 of the Moroccan Penal Code punishes “anyone who undermines the Muslim religion” with six months to two years in prison. The penalty can be increased to five years imprisonment if the offence is committed in public, “including by electronic means.”