Moroccan sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing Israel normalization on social media

On 03/08/2023

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AUG 3, 2023

Said Boukioud, 48, made a series of Facebook posts dating back to late 2020 criticizing the Moroccan monarchy for normalizing ties with Israel

A Moroccan citizen was sentenced to five years in prison over Facebook posts criticizing the Moroccan monarchy for its normalization of ties with Israel on Monday, 31 July, reported The Guardian.

“48-year-old Said Boukioud was found guilty of posting on Facebook, denouncing the normalization of the occupation in a manner that could be seen as criticizing the King,” his lawyer El Hassan Essouni told AFP, adding that he has appealed Boukioud’s verdict.

Essouni described the sentence as “harsh and incomprehensible,” arguing that his client’s opposition to Moroccan ties with Israel was not meant in offense toward the King. He added that his client immediately took action to delete the posts labeled as “offensive” and disable his account when he was informed of the charges against him.

During an extended stay in Qatar dating back to late 2020, Boukioud made his infamous series of Facebook posts criticizing the country’s normalization efforts with Israel. The charges were levied against him even though he was not residing in Morocco at the time the posts were published online.

Morocco’s constitution states that foreign affairs fall under the King’s purview, and its penal code prohibits “offending the Muslim religion or the monarchy or inciting violation of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity.”

The sentencing was based on Article 267-5 of the penal code, which stipulates imprisonment ranging from six months to two years for criticizing the monarchy. However, the sentence can be increased to five years if the offense is committed publicly, including online.

This comes as other Arab countries neighboring Morocco are working to enforce criminal offenses against any efforts to normalize relations with Israel, such as Algeria and Tunisia. 

On 1 August, Tunisia announced that it is studying a law that would officially criminalize normalization with Israel, while in May, Algeria fully declared that any attempt at establishing relations with Israel, traveling to Israel, or getting in contact with Israeli officials was a crime.

Normalization with Israel is a hot point of debate within Moroccan society, with a lot of its citizens considering their country to have betrayed the Palestinian cause with this recent political move.

In December 2020, then-US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize the territory of Western Sahara as part of Moroccan territory in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel.

“The United States affirms, as stated by previous Administrations, its support for Morocco’s autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory.” according to the proclamation published on the matter by the US National Archive.

Moroccan sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing Israel normalization on social media (

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