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Morocco/Western Sahara
23.07.20
Urgent Interventions

End the judicial harassment against journalist Omar Radi

July23rd, 2020

The undersigned international Human Rights organizations call onMoroccan authorities to immediately end their harassment of Moroccan journalistOmar Radi.

Seven. This is the number of times Omar Radi, the head of investigationsfor the Moroccan news site Le Desk, was summoned by the National Brigade ofJudiciary Police in less than a month, as part of an “investigation into[his] alleged involvement in receiving foreign funding, linked to foreignintelligence services.”

Mr. Radi, who strongly challenges the accusations against him, was firstheard on June 25th, three days after the publication of a report[1] by Amnesty International on theelectronic surveillance his smartphone was subjected to, using the Pegasusspyware designed by the Israeli company NSO Group. Moroccan authorities deniedinvolvement, and harshly criticized the report. Mr. Radi was then summonedagain by the police on July 2nd, 9th, 13th, 15th,17th and 20th.

The multiple summonses, each resulting in 6 to 9hours-long interrogation sessions, appear to be aimed at exerting psychologicalpressure on Mr. Radi, possibly in retaliation for his journalistic work. [2]

Mr. Radi was arrested on December 25, 2019, 8 months after he posted acritical tweet about a court ruling convicting leaders of socio-economicprotests in the Rif region.[3] He was held in detention for sixdays before he was freed on bail, then sentenced, in March 2020, to four monthsof suspended prison time for “insulting a magistrate.”

We, the undersigned human rightsorganizations:

-Call on Moroccan authorities to immediately stop harassing journalistOmar Radi;
-Denounce the incessant smear campaigns against him in media outlets widelyreported to be close to Moroccan authorities;
[4]

-Call on Moroccan authorities to guarantee that journalists are able tocarry out their work freely, without fear of reprisal;

- Call on the Moroccan authorities to guarantee that human rightsdefenders in Morocco are able to carry out their human rights work without fearof reprisal including judicial harassment.

-Express our concern over the multiplication of trials violating theright to free speech.[5]

-Request that the authorities respect free speech internationalagreements that Morocco ratified.

Co-signatories:
- EuroMed Rights
- Front Line Defenders[6]
- ARTICLE 19
-
FIDH,in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders[7]
- World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), inthe framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

- Human Rights Watch
- Freedom House
- Reporters Without Borders[8]

[1]https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2020/06/moroccan-journalist-targeted-with-network-injection-attacks-using-nso-groups-tools/

[2] http://amdh.org.ma/contents/display/342

[3] Asa reminder, EuroMed Rights, its Moroccanmember organizations and Article 19 published on January 2020 a statement insupport of Omar Radi during a trial for a tweet critical of a court decision(the tweet denounced the harshness of the sentences against the leaders of theHirak)
https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/au-maroc-la-liberte-dexpression-desormais-suspendue-a-un-tweet/

[4]“In Morocco,110 journalists are mobilizing against“ defamation media” https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2020/07/16/au-maroc-110-journalistes-se-mobilisent-contre-les%20-medias-de-defamation_6046424_3212.html

[5] https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2020/02/05/maroc-campagne-de-repression-contre-les-utilisateurs-de-reseaux-sociaux

[6] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-journalist-and-human-rights-defender-omar-radi

[7] “Morocco: Judicial harassmentfollowing the observation of Mr. Omar Radi” https://www.fidh.org/fr/themes/defenseurs-des-droits-humains/maroc-harcelement-judiciaire-a-l-encontre-de-m-omar-radi

[8]"RSFcalls on the Moroccan authorities to stop harassing journalist Omar Radi” https://rsf.org/fr/actualites/rsf-appelle-les-autorites-marocaines-cesser-de-harceler-le-journaliste-omar-radi

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