Fouad Mourtada Goes To Jail For Facebook Spoof!

I’ve been following this story since early February and waiting to see if and when Mourtada would be charged by the Moroccan government for creating a Facebook profile of Morocco’s Crown Prince. I had initially thought he would eventually be let go for such a silly thing, since it wasn’t like he was blogging about political issues. It was, as he said, a little joke and the account was deleted. But it seems that in Morocco, just like Jordan, it is really, really easy to harm the dignity of the state. Imagine three years of your life completely taken away from you for this ‘crime’. My prayers are with you Mourtada.

A Moroccan computer engineer has been sentenced to three years in jail for setting up a Facebook profile in the name of a member of the royal family. Fouad Mourtada was arrested on 5 February on suspicion of stealing the identity of Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI. The Casablanca court also ordered Mr Mourtada, 26, to pay a $1,300 fine. The prosecution had urged the court to impose a sentence which set an example for others. Mr Mourtada was convicted of “villainous practices linked to the alleged theft of the [prince’s] identity”.

In his defence, he said he admired the prince, and that the Facebook entry was just intended to be a bit of fun. A website supporting him published a letter addressed to the prince apologising for the incident. The letter, reportedly penned by Mr Mourtada’s family, requested clemency.

“Fouad Mourtada, like thousands of people who create fake profiles of well-known personalities or celebrities on Facebook, has in no way acted in a willingness to cause nuisance to Your Highness, for whom he has always shown the greatest of respect,” the letter on the Help Fouad website reads. Earlier this week some Moroccan bloggers went “on strike”, suspending their regular blog entries for 24 hours in protest at Mr Mourtada’s detention. According to the website, he told family members who visited him in jail that he had been blindfolded and beaten unconscious at the time of his arrest. [BBC]


  • If he was underage, I would sympathise, but when you’re an adult living in an authentic monarchy, and attack the ruling family, you pretty much know what you’re getting into.

    If you note some of the comments on the walls of this type of celebrity profile, you will see why even if the profile creator intended no harm, people will use it as an opportunity to malign the celebrity.

    You will also find similar facebook profiles have been created for King Abdullah and Queen Ranya. So we may soon hear about a Jordanian being arrested for the same offence.

  • And the other day in morroco a 95 year died in the prison after six months of getting in..The report said he was mentally ill, but guess why he was imprisoned? He insulted the king of morroco..

    Anyway, lets stop here before we go to prison..

  • If you are going to pretend to be royalty trying to have some fun! you should’nt do it from country where the royalty has extraordinary legal jurisdiction.
    I hope they’ll lessen his jail sentence.

  • That’s terrible especially that if he’s a father.. God knows if he’ll ever get out alive..
    But I have to agree with what Hani said, he knows that this unacceptable so why take a chance and be in this position for something silly and not worth it at all.. Sometimes those people in power have no sense of humor whatsoever..

  • مشان النبي أرحلوا عنا ياسلاطين،أتركونا نحل مشاكلنا،الله لا يفكوا علي المصايب التي جلبتموها الي شعوب هذه المنطقه نحن لسنا ملك لكم ولسنا عقارأ تتورثه عن أب وجد

  • Actualy Facebook is more dangerous than that since employers are now checking facebook profiles of employees they want to hire and see if they are involved in anything unethical, or drugs, strip bars events. Facebook users are exposing all their personal life to the public which is bringing Big Borther attention.

  • lets look at this more objectively, if someone steals your identity on facebook or whatever, dont u think they should be fined or punished? even if they do it out of admiration… in the past, it was an offense to steal identity by claiming ur someone else or forge some papers, the internet was never considered reliable, now its different, and thats the gap that the law did not fill yet, the internet could be considered reliable (not myspace but facebook is not a bad source) and there should be some sort of punishment… but to jail for three years? i understand the fine, but jail solves no crime! and in morroco i know for sure they dont punish anybody for stealing identity, its that the royal family there really lost touch with reality, YOU ARE NO GODS! anyway, i think the right thing to do is push some outsiders to create facebook profiles of the same name 🙂 that would tease them pretty well, since they cant touch those… i highly recommend a DANISH to do that, since they have unlimited free speach!

  • When it comes to identity theft, technical terminology and definitions aside, there was no real sinister intent here and i don’t think that was taken in to consideration. moreover, we are not talking about forged documents, passports, or even credit cards. it’s a facebook profile.

    The fine would be expected, the jail time is a bit harsh to say the least. To say nothing of the beatings by security forces. To say nothing of what i believe was a state sentencing and not a civil suit.

    To quote:

    Rick Broadhead is a technology analyst and author. He explained there are different levels of identity fraud.

    “When does taking someone’s identity become a crime?” he asked. “It is pretty black and white; if someone has actually stolen your debit card number or your credit card number, but if someone is simply pretending to be you on MySpace is that a crime?

    “You’d be arresting a lot of people.” [source]

  • Facebook is not an official governmental portal that people should be charged against when messing with it… IT’S NOT OFFICIAL.
    When you create an email account, sometimes you spend 10 minutes to find an alias for your name (because your name was taken) and an extra 2 minutes to fill the rest of the application!!
    My opinion, this is ridiculous!!

  • Да,несогласен с предыдущими высказываниями
    ) Bye

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