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Moroccans protest against their country’s normalization with the Israeli government. (Photo: Moroccan Front for Supporting Palestine FB Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Abdul Rahman Zankad was arrested last month after posting on Facebook about Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and Rabat’s 2020 decision to establish diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

Morocco has sentenced an activist to five years in prison for criticizing the government’s decision to normalize relations with Israel.

Abdul Rahman Zankad was arrested last month after posting on Facebook about Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and Rabat’s 2020 decision to establish diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

On Monday a court found Zankad guilty of insulting a constitutional institution and incitement. He was also fined 50,000 Moroccan dirhams ($5,000).

Zankad is reportedly a member of Morocco’s banned but tolerated Al Adl Wal Ihsane group.

In a statement the organization said his sentence “only serves to solidify the certainty that we are in a state riddled by authoritarianism and tyranny,” the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reported.

“We condemn this unjust ruling in the strongest terms. It is a continuation of the unjust rulings targeting opponents from Al Adl Wal Ihsane, journalists, and leaders of the Rif Movement,” it added, referencing a 2016 protest movement whose leaders were later sentenced and imprisoned.

‘Baseless’ Charges

The group has also condemned the prosecutions of other opponents of normalization, highlighting cases of individuals who were sentenced for criticizing the monarchy and organizing unauthorized demonstrations, the MEMO report said.

The civil liberty advocacy group organising the legal defence of protesters called the charges baseless and stated that the proceedings violated Zankad’s right to a fair trial.

The North African country has seen tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets to denounce Israel’s attack on Gaza.  The protesters also criticized Israel’s allies, including the US, and demanded the government “overturn normalization,” according to the report.

Abraham Accords

Morocco established ties with Israel in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, leading to both the US and Israel recognizing Rabat’s claim over the disputed Western Sahara.

The country joined other Arab states, Bahrain, the UAE and Sudan in forming diplomatic relations with the occupation state.

Human rights associations have raised concerns about a rise in prosecutions stemming from online posts in recent years. The sentencing of Zankad is the latest case of restrictions on freedom of expression in the country.

Morocco’s constitution generally allows for freedom of expression, but it is illegal to criticize the monarchy or King Mohammed VI, and those who do can face prosecution, the report added.

Over 33,600 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 33,634 Palestinians have been killed, and 76,214 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.


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