A 23-year-old Moroccan-Italian citizen has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined $6,000 for “insulting Quran and Islam”, after “unintentionally” publishing satire of Quranic verses on Facebook, local media reported.

The suspect reportedly distorted Surat Al Kawthar, one of the short verses in the Holy Quran, changing its name to something that amounted to a provocative insult on her social media account.

The young woman was arrested earlier this month at Rabat airport when she arrived from France, claimed that she “did not know” that she was the subject of an arrest warrant, according to her father.

The case dates back to April 2019, when the woman shared on Facebook Arabic phrases imitating an extract from the Koran, “without knowing the content, because she is not fluent in Arabic”, he said.

Legal proceedings began after a religious association in Marrakesh submitted a complaint against her.

The young woman was handed a prison term of three and a half years, along with a fine of almost $6,000, for “insulting the Islamic religion”, her father said.

“I visited her today, she is completely broken — they have ruined her future,” he lamented. The family intends to appeal.

Article 267 of Morocco’s penal code stipulates a sentence of between six months and two years in prison for the offence of “insulting Islam”, but the penalty increases to a maximum of five years if the offence is committed in public, including via electronic platforms.

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