A man who impersonated a member of a royal Moroccan family on the Internet site Facebook was beaten unconscious and sentenced to 3 years in jail.

Fouad Mourtada was arrested earlier this month on allegations of stealing the identity of Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI.

The Casablanca court ordered Mourtada to pay $1300 for villainous practices linked to the alleged theft of the [prince's] identity, and sentenced to prison. Prosecutors had urged the court to make his case an example for others.

Prior to Mourtada's court hearings, the computer engineer said that he was kidnapped by 2 individuals who blindfolded him and drove him to building for interrogation.

I was slammed for hours with a tool on the head and the legs, he said in a statement given to his supporters. This calvary lasted such a long time that I lost consciousness several times and also lost the notion of time.

In his defense, he said he admired the prince, and that the Facebook entry was just intended to be a bit of fun.

It was just a joke, a gag, Fouad was quoted as saying on www.helpfouad.com. I regret my gesture and beg forgiveness from my whole family for the harm that I have caused them.