Khalid Gueddar (FB)
Alongside the image he added a quote from French cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier“Charb“, who was killed in the 7 January 2015 Charlie Hebdo magazine attack.
“I don’t feel like slitting someone’s throat with a felt-tip pen. I don’t put lives in danger. When activists need a pretext to justify their violence, they always find it.”
(Sentence taken from an interview with Le Monde in 2012)
One of the messages warned:
“Your destiny is sacrificial death*, you are the enemy of God.”
*It has various readings/translations such as massacre, in English slaughter, in French égorgement.
Some media initially headlined that he had requested police protection, something the cartoonist denied shortly afterwards, adding that he considered these messages to be very serious and called for them to be investigated.
“The police must investigate, these kinds of calls for hatred, violence and death cannot go unpunished.”
The Moroccan claims that he only intended to pay tribute to Nahed Hattar.
While this could be the isolated threat of a fool at three o’clock, another one, I understand that the cartoonist does not take it as a joke.
In 2012 he was interrogated for six hours
It’s not the first time Geddar has faced trouble over a cartoon.
On Monday 23 July 2012 he was detained and interrogated for six hours by the police after he re-publicised this cartoon he had drawn in 2009.
The image showed various garments and a condom falling from the minaret of a mosque, the cartoon alluded to a news story about an imam who was said to have solicited the services of a prostitute in a mosque.
Khalid then said that he re-published the cartoon after another report of a similar incident spread.
During interrogation he was asked about his website (Baboudi), the cartoon in question, his other cartoons and his religious beliefs. Police told him that his cartoon insulted Islam, no charges were brought on that occasion.
Tried in 2009
This cartoon, commissioned by his publisher and published on 26 September 2009 on the front page of the Moroccan daily Akhbar Al Youm, depicting Prince Moulay Ismail, cousin of King Mohamed VI, was what put Geddar in the dock and led to an order for the newspaper’s permanent closure.
The cartoonist and the editor of the newspaper were involved in two lawsuits, one brought by the Ministry of the Interior for insulting the national flag and the other brought by the prince, who demanded three million dirhams, then about 270,000 euros
Another fine of the equivalent of 8,900 euros was imposed on the editor of the newspaper, Taoufiq Bouachrine, and the same amount on the cartoonist. They also asked for one year’s imprisonment for both.
Offence to the monarchy
The interior ministry claimed that it was an “offence against the Alawite monarchy”, arguing that the symbol appearing on the flag was a Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, and accused the media of “flagrant anti-Semitism” and “biased use of the flag”.
The cartoonist denied that this was his intention, what is more, reported that he had been commissioned by the newspaper’s editor todraw “a friendly caricature ” to accompany a long report on the prince’s wedding. And that is what he drew, the prince with the Moroccan flag in the background, saluting with a traditional gesture.
Bouachrine and Gueddar were heard in court where they apologised. They were eventually acquitted and the fines were withdrawn. The newspaper was closed down, but the Moroccan government, pious as it was, allowed former employees of the closed publication to open a new paper.
Jean Plantureux “Plantu ” drew an allusive cartoon that appeared in Le Monde on 22 October 2009.
This humorous demonstration of support for the closed newspaper and Khalid Gueddar provoked another response very much in line with the Moroccan government. It again applied censorship, this time banning Le Monde for three days and preventing its distribution in Morocco.
The Moroccan authorities also blocked the daily El País for reproducing the same cartoon. The Moroccan minister of communication has kindly reminded that such cartoons are banned in his country.
Related: 76 cases in other countries