Fouad Mourtada reportedly freed yesterday after being granted royal amnesty, having spent nearly two mouths in prison for no tangible reason other than committing a crime of lèse-majesté. Even in Morocco, resilient, perseverant and honest non-violent dissent pays.
The news from Morocco (if confirmed) is a real sigh of relief for many bloggers, and HR activists who campaigned hard to make the case of Fouad known and widely published. But this is not a victory for democracy nor for HR (as the Moroccan writer Laila Lalami rightly pointed out on her blog) because the institutions of the monarchy have acted in clear subservience to the central power. And I don’t think that one can feel comfortable yet in a country where people are being imprisoned and later released according to the will and whims of one single person. Anyway, Fouad is now a free man. Until Mourtada’s arrest, Moroccans have enjoyed reasonably free access to the internet compared to the regional standards. They rightly spotted the danger of imprisoning Mourtada and they succesfully named and shamed the Moroccan government for what it did. Throughout the Arab World, though, many bloggers and other prisoners of opinion still languish in prisons sometimes without due process or any legal recourse.
By the way, Aid Maulid a’Nabawi Saîd (happy Maulid feast).