A Moroccan rapper has been sentenced to one year in prison after releasing a music video criticizing the country's police, its king and the myriad problems they face within its borders, Al-Jazeera reports.
Mohamed Mounir, who goes by Gnawi as his rap name, was sentenced on Monday for his role in the video, which he made with rappers Lz3er and Weld L’Griya. The video featuring the song “Aach al Chaab," which translates to "Long Live the People," shows Gnawi insulting the police — a crime that is punishable by up to two years behind bars in Morocco.
"I am an artist. My job is to defend my rights and the rights of the people. It was not the first time that I had been humiliated by the police," the 31-year-old reportedly told the court. "Since I was born, I have been humiliated." The song is said to have shocked Moroccans, especially as it directly goes after the Moroccan king and his adviser, an illegal act in the country.
The video "rages against the powers-that-be and criticizes the country’s widening economic gap, a message aimed at the country’s disillusioned younger generation," the Associated Press reports. “We didn’t do this project to point fingers or create controversy,” Lz3er told the news outlet. “We voiced what the majority of Moroccans feel but fear to say ... and it naturally upset those who do not want change.”
Amnesty International, one of the world's leading human rights organizations, says that Gwani's arrest is "absurd" and an "outrageous assault on free speech," Al-Jazeera adds.
Watch the video up top.