Jailed Moroccan Facebook Poser Released and Pardoned

Twenty-six year old Fouad Mourtada of Morocco, who was serving a three year prison sentence for impersonating the Moroccan king’s younger brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, on Facebook, has been granted a royal pardon, says the BBC. He was originally arrested in early February 2007, and sentenced on February 25.

CNN and BBC, which have covered the story, have focused on the “appalling” human rights conditions in Morocco and the untouchable status of the royal family. But what I wanted to know was how he was arrested in the first place (noting some similarities to the Yahoo/China situation from 2004). The Moroccan government must almost certainly have had the assistance of Facebook in identifying Mourtada. When I asked Facebook about this last month they would not comment specifically on the situation.