I am hearing more worrying news from Morocco that police today summoned journalist and Human Rights Defender Omar Radi for the second time in less than 10 days over an ongoing investigation of foreign espionage. If charged, Radi could face a sentence ranging from five years to the death penalty.
I was told he was questioned for several hours at a police station today before being released and told he would be summoned gain, and that the investigation against him continues.
On December 26, 2019, he was arrested and charged over a tweet which criticised a judge’s verdict sentencing several activists to prison terms of up to 20 years.
Following strong national and international reaction to his detention, he was released five days later, but was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a fine at the Court of Casablanca. The public prosecution had requested his conviction for “insulting the judge”.
His case is currently under appeal.
Then on June 22, 2020, an Amnesty International report revealed that Radi’s phone contained spyware. He received a police summons the following day.
According to Amnesty there has been a pattern of spyware being used to target civil society in Morocco.
When Radi presented himself to police, he was questioned for nearly six hours over allegations that he received funding from foreign intelligence agencies.
Omar Radi is one of many Human Rights Defenders who have been targeted by the Moroccan. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report highlighting a worrying rise of repression against the freedom of expression in the country.
Reports of continuing harassment against Omar Radi are alarming. He is a recognised Human Rights Defender, known for his strong criticism of Morocco’s human rights record.
He has been a target of repression for years, and should not be harassed for his human rights work.