The Public Prosecutor’s Office previously announced the arrests of 5,098 individuals within two weeks.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities have arrested 8,612 individuals for spreading COVID-19-related fake news or hate speech, or for violating the state of emergency that was declared on March 19, announced the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).
Security services arrested 8,530 individuals who violated state of health emergency containment measures against the spread of COVID-19, and 82 individuals for spreading fake news or hate speech that destabilizes citizens’ security amid the coronavirus crisis, the DGSN declared.
DGSN’s operations contribute to nationwide efforts in upholding the state of emergency in order to manage the spread of COVID-19 in the country, DGSN added.
Among the 82 individuals arrested for undermining precautionary policies, charges included inciting people to disobey the rules of the state of emergency or commit acts of violence, posting violent or discriminatory content aimed at medical staff, and spreading fake news about the evolving COVID-19 situation in Morocco.
Security services arrested 8,530 individuals in urban field operations for the breaching of the state of health emergency laws by leaving their houses without an exceptional movement permit, or carrying an exceptional movement permit with forged authorization.
The state of emergency requires that citizens refrain from entering public spaces without authorization. Moroccans must carry an “exceptional movement permit” that they fill out, sign, and get officially stamped whenever they need to leave their homes.
The Ministry of Interior posted an e-version of the permit ready for download on its website and sent local authorities to issue citizens copies of the permit.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office previously announced the arrests of 5,098 state of emergency offenders, which took place within two weeks.
The legal proceedings fall within the framework of Law 2.20.292 on the provisions relating to the state of emergency, the office said in a press release.
Under Law 2.20.292, those convicted of violating the state of emergency will receive a sentence ranging from one to three months in prison and a fine of MAD 300 to MAD 1,300 ($30 to $132).
When the Ministry of Interior declared the state of emergency, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office Hicham Balaoui sent circulars to prosecutor’s offices, telling them to ensure the rigorous application of Law 2.20.292.
Balaoui also 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.