Walid Bahomane, an 18-year-old Moroccan, was arrested on 24 January 2012, then tried and sentenced on 16 February by the Rabat Court of First Instance to one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 dirhams (1,000 euros), for "violating the sanctity of Mohammed VI" on Facebook.

His crime was to publish on his page a cartoon ​​by a Burkinabese designer: His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, seen through a key hole (see illustration).

The title "Commander of the Faithful" is also claimed by the Sultan of Brunei and Mullah Omar in Afghanistan.

A few days later, Abdessamad Haydour, 25, was sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges after calling the absolute monarch of "dog and a dictator" in a video clip shot during a demonstration in Taza and disseminated on the Internet.

According to the blog Vox Maroc, the Moroccan cyber police has access to vast premises in Rabat where it engages in propaganda and intimidation activities on the Web as well as monitoring the Internet through a French spy software.

Last December, French company Amesys won a $ 2 million contract for the sale to Morocco of computers and hard drives and the installation of Eagle monitoring software. This allows to sift millions of messages, save them and pluck names and keywords. It also detects connections to sites listed as suspect; it can access the content of emails and identify the sender as well as intercept phone calls.

For nearly a month the youth of Taza, a town in the north eastern part of the kingdom, have been staging an unprecedented uprising. There are several dead and hundreds injured according to preliminary reports by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights.

The annual per capita income in Morocco is 5 100 USD (146th in the world). Mohammed VI is the seventh richest head of state in the world.

On 17 April 2011, before the UN Security Council, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé had qualified the reforms as "courageous and visionary".

Last Monday, his U.S. counterpart, Hillary Clinton, during a joint press conference declared: "It is the right of the Syrian people to benefit from the same transformation policies carried out successfully in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt or Libya. "