To Amnesty, «the arrest of Moroccan rapper Gnawi is an outrageous assault on free speech»

Moroccan rapper Gnawi. / Ph. DR
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The arrest of Moroccan rapper Mohamed Mounir known by his stage name Gnawi is «an outrageous assault on free speech», Amnesty International said in a statement published Wednesday.

Gnawi was arrested on 1 November and charged with «offending public officials and public bodies over a video in which he insults the police», wrote the international NGO.

His arrest also comes a few days after having published a music video for his song «Aâcha El Chaâb» (Live long the People) in which he criticizes the Moroccan authorities and indirectly makes a derogatory reference to the Moroccan King, said Amnesty.

«The arrest of Moroccan rapper Gnawi is an outrageous assault on free speech. He is blatantly being punished for expressing his critical views of the police and the authorities. He must be released immediately and all charges in this absurd case against him dropped», said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

«While Gnawi may have used offensive language to refer to the police, the right to freely express one’s views, even if shocking or offensive, is protected by international human rights law. No one should face punishment for freely speaking their minds», she added.

Gnawi started rapping in 2011, his song «Aâcha El Chaâb» has been viewed more than 12 million times.

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