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US News Morocco: arrest of journalist and human rights activist Omar Radi

17:15  06 july  2020
17:15  06 july  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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In Morocco , journalists , human rights defenders and activists increasingly face harassment, censorship, torture and imprisonment simply for expressing their opinion. We look at the case of Omar Radi , an award-winning investigative Moroccan journalist who faces a year in prison for a single

Moroccan journalist and activist Omar Radi will face trial in Morocco in January for allegedly insulting a judge in a tweet he posted nine months ago, NGO Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Manifestation en soutien au journaliste marocain Omar Radi lors d'une précédente arrestation en décembre 2019 à Rabat. (Image d'illustration) © STR / AFP Demonstration in support of Moroccan journalist Omar Radi during a previous arrest in December 2019 in Rabat. (Illustrative image)

The journalist and human rights activist was arrested by the Casablanca judicial police on Sunday evening. He was arrested with a colleague, Imad Stitou, for "public intoxication and violence". An arrest which comes while Omar Radi is at the heart of a double investigation into a spy case.

Officially, his arrest is linked to an altercation in a bar with a journalist from Chouf TV. An Arabic-speaking media that has been waging a smear campaign against Omar Radi in recent weeks. This Sunday again, the journalist, for example, posted photos suggesting that he was being followed by a black car.

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Rabat – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has joined rights groups and a number of Moroccan figures in condemning the arrest of journalist Omar Radi On Saturday, December 28, hundreds of activists and journalists flocked to Rabat in front of the parliament to denounce the arrest of the journalist .

Moroccan authorities on Friday rejected an Amnesty report saying they have spied on journalist Omar Radi using Israeli-made technology. Radi , a critic of Morocco ’s human rights record, was questioned by police on Thursday for what the prosecutor said were suspicions he received funds

Omar Radi has been under investigation for "endangering state security" for the past few days. Last week, he was interrogated for "obtaining foreign funding, linked to an intelligence agency". This investigation, launched by the Casablanca prosecution, follows an Amnesty International report, which claims that journalist Omar Radi has been spied on by the Moroccan state via spyware installed on his phone since the summer of 2019.

The Moroccan authorities refute these allegations and demand that the NGO provide tangible evidence in order to substantiate their allegations. They also accuse Omar Radi of having been in contact with an ex-agent of MI6 (British intelligence services), and therefore of being a "spy".

RSF requests an explanation

Amnesty International claims to have all the evidence, and Omar Radi denies the accusations against him. "I have never been and never will be in the pay of a foreign power. I am neither a spy nor an agent on the pay of outside agendas, "a statement posted on his Facebook page said on Saturday.

Reporter sans Frontières asks the Moroccan authorities to provide explanations concerning his arrest and calls for his release. At the local level, a support committee, created by a dozen journalists, was formed on Monday.

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