Moroccan Woman Freed After 3.5 Year Jail Sentence for Insulting Islam

Back on June 28, 2021, Moroccan-Italian, Ikram Nazih, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined $6 thousand for allegedly insulting Islam through her Facebook post. Nazih, whose name was withheld during her sentencing, was released this week. The 23-year old was arrested last May in the Rabat-Sale Airport after returning from her trip to France.

Detained for more than two months, Nazih was released while waiting for her trial scheduled for August 30 of this year. Nazih's father defended her during her arrest, explaining that she is "not fluent in Arabic" and was sharing a post that she thought was harmless. Her arrest also gained traction online, with netizens criticizing the Morrocan government for attacking individuals who want to "exercise intellectual criticisms."

Vincenzo Amendola, Italy's Minister of European Affairs, headed the team that handled the diplomatic mission for Nazih's release. Under Amendola's supervision, Italian officials were in constant communication with their Morrocan counterparts, negotiating for the release. Along with the Minister of European Affairs, the Italian Ambassador for Morocco, Armando Barucco, was also working with the Morrocan government to facilitate Nazih's release. The Farnesina, Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was also involved in the diplomatic efforts.

Amendola visited Nazih in prison every week, reassuring her that they are working closely on her case. They also provided her with interpreters while her case was being heard. Amendola expressed that he’s "fully satisfied with the result obtained" after discussing her release with interested parties.

Amendola attributed the diplomatic success he and his team achieved to the "excellent institutional collaboration with local authorities." He added that after the defense was heard during the petition process, they were able to convince the Moroccan court to release Nazih. Amendola stated that "our compatriot is fine, my best wishes go to her and her family," and that the "solid relations between Italy and Morocco continue."

Luigi Di Maio, Italy's Foreign Minister, congratulated Amendola and Barucco for their commitment to resolve the case.

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