The Public Prosecutor’s Office has suggested the possibility of delivering harsher penalties for violations of the state of emergency if they include acts stipulated in the Criminal Code.
Rabat – The Secretary General of the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Hicham Balaoui, affirmed that the office will take firm action against those who violate the measures of Morocco’s state of emergency.
As soon as the Ministry of the Interior declared the state of emergency, Balaoui sent circulars to the various prosecutor’s offices, calling on them to show firmness and ensure the rigorous application of Law 2.20.292 on the provisions relating to the state of emergency.
The law aims to protect citizens and residents against the risks of the spread of epidemics, to mobilize all the resources necessary to guarantee their safety, and to ensure the continuity of public service.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office also sent circulars to the various public prosecutors to deal with the phenomenon of fake news, Balaoui said to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
The secretary general described the law as “protective” of society against the risks that may be posed by those who violate the state of emergency and authorities’ corresponding decisions.
Balaoui explained that penalties for violating the state of emergency target those who obstruct public authorities and incite citizens to gather in the streets. Penalties include one to three months imprisonment and a fine ranging from MAD 300 to 1,300 ($30 to $132).
He suggested the possibility of delivering harsher penalties for acts stipulated in the Criminal Code, such as attacking or resisting public forces while walking on the street without authorization, punishable by a sentence of between six months and two years’ imprisonment.
Finally, Balaoui urged citizens to avoid conveying false information and misleading videos.
The Ministry of Interior prepared the draft decree of Law 2.20.292 on March 22, seeking to impose legal actions against anyone who defies the state of emergency put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The decision came shortly after videos went viral on social media showing groups of Moroccans rallying in Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, and Sale, chanting religious slogans such as “Allahu Akbar” or God is great.
The actions defied the state of emergency that Morocco declared on March 19, which limits the mobility of citizens and residents in order to limit the spread of the virus in the country. Only with “exceptional movement permits” signed by authorities can citizens and residents go to work, buy essentials, or receive medical care.