Moroccan King Mohammed VI
Moroccan King Mohammed VI

A Moroccan activist has been jailed for three years for slandering King Mohammed VI in a video posted on-line.

Waves of anti-regime protests continue to sweep across the Arab World, but in Morocco, criticising the King is still a serious crime.

Video footage posted online showed 24-year-old Abdassamad Haidour discussing the current political atmosphere in Morocco and the role of the King.

The student can be heard saying that the King and his administration "insist on keeping Morocco as a consumer society despite the large economic and social potential of the country that could lead it to greatness."

He also discusses the King's "refusal of democratic change" , which the court said showed he was "insulting the state's sanctity and violating the sanctity of the King."

Haidour, has been linked to the February 20 group, a movement that calls for democratic and political reforms in the Kingdom.

His comments were filmed during a protest against rising prices and unemployment in the northern city of Taza.

The Association Marocaine des Droits Humains (AMDH), the Kingdom's most prominent human rights watchdog said the security forces used excessive force against protesters. Seventeen people were arrested.

Haidour was arrested on 10 February and taken to a court in Taza.

Activists say he did not have a legal team to defend him, which they add is a violation of his rights.

Moroccan news reports suggest no lawyers accepted to defend him and that he rejected the offer of a court appointed lawyer.

In addition to three years in jail Haydour also has to pay a 10,000 dirham fine to the court.