Read More Atheist Republic A Moroccan woman went on hunger strike after authorities jailed her for blasphemy charges, her family stated on Tuesday.
39-year-old blogger Fatima Karim was detained by Moroccan police in July and was found guilty of “attacking the Islamic religion via electronic means” after posting satirical comments about Islam and the Koran on Facebook.
She was sentenced to two years in prison on August 15.
During her trial in the town of Oued Zem, east of Casablanca, Karim defended her statements, saying they were within the bounds of freedom of expression, a right guaranteed by the Moroccan Constitution.
However, she also apologized to those “whoever felt offended” by her posts, adding that she did not intend to disparage Islam, the state religion of the North African country.
The lower court dismissed her appeal in mid-September and upheld the two-year prison sentence. Karim began her hunger strike in protest as soon as the court announced its verdict.
According to AFP, a family member, who requested anonymity for security purposes, told them that Karim “started a hunger strike 13 days ago to protest against her heavy sentence.”
“We fear that her health is deteriorating,” the family member added.
Article 267-5 of Morocco’s Penal Code allows those who are guilty of insulting Islam to be imprisoned for two years, with the possibility of the sentence being increased to five years if someone committed the offense in public, including by “electronic means” like posting on social media. However, according to human rights groups, what constitutes an insult to Islam is unclear.
Karim’s case is not the first of its kind to be reported. Last year, a 23-year-old Italian-Moroccan woman was sentenced to three and a half years of prison for similar charges after unintentionally publishing posts on Facebook satirizing verses from the Koran.
Moroccan-Italian girl has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for “insulting Islam”, after unintentionally publishing satire of Quranic verses on Facebook. #Blasphemyhttps://t.co/zFM5pCM1F3 pic.twitter.com/ap57KwA0L5
— SAMRIReports2 (@SReports2) July 21, 2021
After a high-profile campaign by human rights defenders, the woman was released on appeal after spending two months behind bars.