Morocco's Facebook faker is freed

Royal pardon

Handcuffs

Fouad Mourtada, the IT engineer jailed for setting up a fake Facebook page for a member of the Moroccan Royal family, has been released from prison.

He was freed by Royal pardon yesterday evening after 43 days inside.

Mourtada had begun a three-year sentence in Oukacha prison in Casablanca. The 26-year-old was arrested in early February and sentenced to three years' jail and a $1,300 fine on 25 February.

Mourtada made a Facebook entry which claimed to be created by the King's brother - His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid. Mourtada's supporters insisted he created the profile as a joke and not to mislead or ridicule anyone.

An online campaign calling for his release gathered almost 9,000 signatures.

Morocco is a reasonably liberal place but does take insults to its Royal family very seriously.

Last year, Morocco briefly banned YouTube because it was showing videos in support of Western Saharan independence. ®

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