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- Category: In Other News
This article, written by Mark Levine, appeared on Al Jazeera on June 30,2012
Rabat, Morocco - While Syria burns and Egypt rises to a boil, the musical temperature in Morocco is rising, with the country in the middle of its annual "festival season". To make sure everyone has a good time, the Moroccan government arrested, tried and convicted one of the Arab world's best young rappers, Mouad Balghouat, aka El Haked - or, as he spells his name using Moroccan Arabic text-chat letters, L7A9D - to a year in prison.
Balghouat was convicted of insulting the police, "showing contempt" towards public servants and "undermining their honour".
El Haked, which roughly translates as "the enraged one", is Morocco's answer to El General, the young Tunisian rapper whose arrest in December 2010 helped spark the revolution in that country. The Moroccan's imprisonment is the second time in a year he has been jailed for his highly politicised music. The first time, the police baited him into a fight with a young arch-royalist, whose supposed injuries led to Balghouat's arrest and to four months spent in pre-trial detention, before he was convicted and sentenced to time served. That arrest came after the release of a song which attacked the legitimacy of the monarchy.
READ MORE AT Al Jazeera
*Photo Credit: Magharebia
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