Moroccan Man Pardoned For Fake Facebook Profile

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

Last month, a Moroccan man was sentenced to three years in jail just because he set up a fake profile of a Moroccan prince in Facebook. These sorts of fake profiles are quite common, and it didn't appear that the profile did anything defamatory. However, the guy was still charged with identity fraud. That seems extreme. If the Moroccan royal family was upset about the profile, why not just ask Facebook to take it down? If the fake profile was defamatory, sue the guy for defamation. Charging him with identity fraud and giving him three years in jail was clearly overkill. The international response to this event apparently caught the attention of the royal family, and the king has pardoned the guy in question, releasing him from jail after just a few weeks. However, the fact that he had to go to jail at all still is worrisome.


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    Hellsvilla, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 3:33pm

    The sentence was overkill

    The sentence was overkill, but not the crime.

    The crime of "identity fraud" is absolutely fitting. But he should have been given 90 days in jail, not three years. (Come on, he was impersonating a member of the royal family. THEY KNOW that is not allowed...)

     

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    zenlunatic, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 4:00pm

    This is Morocco. It's hardly a free country. We need to stop comparing their laws to ours. It is definitely overkill to charge the guy with identity fraud here in the US, but in Morocco it may be entirely justified by their laws.

    In many of these North African countries they still cut off extremities for stealing or lying. It's a bit harsh by our standards, but we can't keep asking the rest of the world to live by our standard.

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 4:03pm

      Re:

      This is Morocco. It's hardly a free country. We need to stop comparing their laws to ours.

      Why not? Do you not believe in a universal sense of decency? Do you not believe in a basic level of values?

      It is definitely overkill to charge the guy with identity fraud here in the US, but in Morocco it may be entirely justified by their laws.

      I'm not questioning whether it fit their laws. I'm talking about a basic level of common sense. Locking this guy up for creating a fake profile simply does not make sense. To say it's okay because it's not "here" is letting Morocco off too easy.

      In many of these North African countries they still cut off extremities for stealing or lying. It's a bit harsh by our standards, but we can't keep asking the rest of the world to live by our standard.

      Yes we can, actually. There is nothing wrong with pointing out why you think a certain practice is unfair. To say it's okay because it's somewhere else debases your own value system.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re:

        The captain of a Saudi Arabian tanker went to prison for ten years for hanging a sausage in front of a portrait of the King that was required to be displayed on the bridge of the ship. Have a sense of perspective, Mike. The sentence had more to do with defaming the royal family than identity theft. Moslem countries are just as baffled by democracy as we are by sharia law.

        I went on a business trip to Saudi Arabia as part of a defense contract. The leader of our product team was a strong-willed woman who refused to listen to advice. When she stood up to begin her presentation all the Saudis got up and walked out. The only one who would say anything said "we will not be talked to by a woman" as he left. That little faux pas cost our company hundreds of thousands of dollars and forced the entire conference to be rescheduled and the project manager to be reassigned.

        Yes it's terrible that this guy went to jail because of a facebook profile. Be thankful he wasn't executed or stoned to death by a vengeful mob. There are a lot worse things to be outraged about in moslem countries, like women who are raped as revenge or murdered in honor killings.

         

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    Lucretious, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 4:34pm

    I've always been of the opinion that anyone who is responsible for sentencing to jail or guarding inmates should be required to spend 7 days and nights in a jail themselves in order to get a realistic perspective of how time is perceived and what it does to ones pshyche. More often than not people are sentenced for either too long or too short of a period for a given crime of which this is a perfect example.

     

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    That Guy, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 4:51pm

    So what is your identity?

    This story really makes me wonder what the true definition of one's identity really is.

    Is your identity your unique ability to transact business as yourself. ( credit cards, drivers license, etc ) OR is your identity something more vague. Is it simply ANY representation of yourself, whether used for transactional business reasons or social reasons?

    I think here in America we always associate it with a transaction model. Identity thieves conduct business using your identity.

    Anyone know any good legal references with a definition of what an identity really is?

     

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    MacA, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 5:10pm

    Nope

    "Do you not believe in a basic level of values?"

    In the REAL world things are more complicated than simply having a basic level of values. We all come from different backgrounds, different faiths, different systems of belief.

    "Locking this guy up for creating a fake profile simply does not make sense. To say it's okay because it's not "here" is letting Morocco off too easy."

    It doesn't make sense to you because you have grown up in a state with a very different belief system where freedom of speech and expression are valued.

    "Yes we can, actually"

    No you can't. Each sovereign state makes its own laws; while you may disagree with them it's really none of your business what they do. They have different beliefs and you CANNOT demand that they live by your rules. What if they demanded you live by their rules; would you accept it? Hardly!

     

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      Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 5:22pm

      Re: Nope

      MacA, I'm afraid we have to agree to disagree. I grew out of the idea that you have to just accept other cultures for what they are back when I was in college. It's part of maturing. Recognizing a core level of what's "right" and what's "wrong" is an important step.

      To say that I cannot express my opinion of what is fundamentally wrong because it's in a different culture is not something I can accept.


      In the REAL world things are more complicated than simply having a basic level of values. We all come from different backgrounds, different faiths, different systems of belief.


      Yes, and if I feel that those values are dangerous or counterproductive then I will speak my mind on them. The fact that so many (in Morocco as well) protested this action suggests in fact that many people there also have this same sense of right and wrong -- and agreed that this was wrong.

      Apologizing for actions that are wrong by saying "well it's just a different culture" is unacceptable in my book.

      I'm not against different types of cultures or different belief systems. But if those fundamentally interfere with my sense of right or wrong I have an obligation to speak up. And so do you. To stay quiet in the face of injustice because "it's not my place to speak" may help you sleep at night, but I can't live like that.

      No you can't.

      Funny. Here you are going on about how I cannot tell others what is right or wrong... and yet you are doing exactly that to me.

      Each sovereign state makes its own laws

      And if those laws are ridiculous than I have every right to point that out.

      They have different beliefs and you CANNOT demand that they live by your rules.

      I demanded nothing. I pointed out why it was unfair and ridiculous.

      What if they demanded you live by their rules; would you accept it? Hardly!

      Again, I demanded nothing. The only one who demanded anything was you -- in demanding I not speak about this.

      I never said they needed to live by my rules. I said I would speak up for what is right and what is not. This action was not right.

       

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    It Wasnt me, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 5:12pm

    now that he was pardoned doesn't that send out the message thats its ok to do it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 6:05pm

    I agree with Mike.

    Let's all kill MacA!!! Or better yet, throw him in Morocco!!!

     

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    Will, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

    Worrisome?

    "Its good to be the king"

    You have to understand why the individual would have done this. They established that there was no real defamation. They charged him with identity fraud.
    They were right.

    What other possible motives are there?

     

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    WakeUpAmerica, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Nope

    Each sovereign state makes its own laws


    And if those laws are ridiculous than I have every right to point that out.


    Well, I have to kinda agree with Mike as long as it involves only pointing out that the laws might be wrong according to him.

    Unfortunately, with the US, it doesn't generally stop with simply pointing out stuff, does it now? We've seen enough 'interventions' for the sake of 'spreading democracy' in other states to last us a lifetime, and I'm sure America is not done yet. That's the harsh truth, whether you choose to accept it or not. This is not the 18th or 19th Century, and America saying that it has to shoulder a thinly-veiled modern version of 'the white man's burden' is just plain idiotic and downright offensive. At the very least if it admits to invading countries for oil, people will have some amount of respect for it for speaking the truth.

    Stick to words and formal diplomatic channels to 'point stuff out', and I virtually guarantee that USA will have a much better image abroad than it does now. (For those Americans who say they don't give a damn what people abroad think of them, let me see them say that next time, God-forbid, a 9-11 type incident happens. And it will, if such an amazingly stupid and short-sighted attitude is persisted with.)

    Re. the topic in question, well I think the Royal Family of Morocco needs to learn to chill out a bit and look at things in the proper perspective, rather than have a knee-jerk reaction and then another one in response to international opinion. Then again, at least we have a good example of how one should sometimes listen to what others say (since they may well be right), something the US would do well to emulate.

     

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    Mark, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 6:32am

    All monarchies should be abolished and replaced with a democratic government.

     

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