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

18:50  06 july  2020
18:50  06 july  2020 Source:   france24.com

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Manifestation de soutien au journaliste marocain Omar Radi, alors détenu pour avoir critiqué un juge sur Twitter, en décembre 2019 à Rabat © STR AFP, Archives Demonstration of support for the Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, then detained for criticizing a judge on Twitter, in December 2019 in Rabat

Moroccan journalist and human rights activist Omar Radi was arrested on Sunday for "public intoxication and violence" and then placed in police custody in Casablanca. He is at the heart of a spy affair.

Omar Radi was arrested and placed in police custody. The Moroccan journalist and human rights activist, at the heart of a double spy case , was arrested Sunday evening for "public intoxication and violence" in Casablanca , we learned Monday, July 6 national security spokesperson (DGSN).

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"He was placed in police custody on the instruction of the prosecution after an incident that occurred at around 11:30 p.m. last night," said the spokesman, who was contacted by AFP.

Moroccan justice had announced on June 24th to have opened an investigation on this journalist whom it suspects to profit from "financing from abroad" in connection with "intelligence services". The Moroccan authorities suspect him of "links with a liaison officer from a foreign country" who has worked "under diplomatic cover since 1979 in several regions of tension" in the world.

"I have never been and will never be in the service of a foreign power (...) I am neither a spy nor an agent paid by a foreign fund", reacted the journalist in a press release published on Saturday his Facebook account. According to him, his activities "have nothing to do with the intelligence world": "It is very commonplace that journalists, especially those specializing in economics provide the type of work" that he is accused of.

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Spied on by the authorities?

The investigation into him was opened after the publication of an Amnesty International report that his phone was being spied on by hacking software used by the Moroccan authorities.

The Moroccan authorities refuted this report by demanding that Amnesty provide "proof" of these "serious and tendentious accusations", threatening failing to "take the necessary measures to defend its national security".

Amnesty believes that it has provided all the relevant evidence: "The technology used to spy on Omar Radi's telephone requires an influence on the telephone operators that only a government can exercise to be able to hack the Internet connection," the official said. organization in a statement released on Saturday.

At this stage, the Moroccan authorities believe, however, that the information provided by Amnesty is not "convincing scientific evidence", according to an official statement issued on Sunday evening.

Morocco: arrest of journalist and human rights activist Omar Radi

 Morocco: arrest of journalist and human rights activist Omar Radi © 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.

Omar Radi, a 33-year-old journalist known for his investigative investigations, had already been sentenced to four months suspended prison sentence in March for criticizing a judge on Twitter.

>> Read also: For journalist Omar Radi, Morocco is experiencing a restriction of individual freedoms

Sunday evening, he was arrested with a friend, "after an altercation with a guy from Chouf TV who came to provoke them", said for his part specified the journalist's father, Radi Driss, on his Facebook account. This friend, Imad Sitou, is also known as a critical journalist.

Omar Radi, who was already heard twice by the police as part of the investigation targeting him had already denounced in late June a "lynching campaign" waged against him by two sites, ChoufTV and Barlamane.com. It was the Chouf TV site that announced his arrest on Sunday evening leaving a bar, calling him a "spy" journalist and analyzing the incident as an intention to "intimidate".

With AFP

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