Jailed Moroccan journalist’s basic rights flouted yet again
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the constant escalation in the restrictions that Morocco’s prison authorities are placing on Omar Radi, an investigative reporter serving a six-year jail sentence on trumped-upspying and rape charges. These mean-spirited violations of his most basic rights are unacceptable and must stop at once, RSF says.
His parents have issued a statement voicing deep concern about the “strange and worrying” decisions that the prison authorities have been taking in connection with their son, who has been detained since July 2020 and whose six-year sentence was upheld on appeal in March 2022.
Already held in isolation and denied the right to write, Omar Radi was told on 7 June, the day after receiving a visit from his parents, that he was henceforth prohibited from discussing politics with them and that he would be denied the right to phone calls if he violated this ban.
The director of Tiflet 2 prison – the prison where Radi is now held, located near Rabat – said that the prohibition was justified because Radi was “a special case” and that he was “under constant surveillance.”
“These constant violations of Omar Radi’s basic rights are cruel, and the endless escalation in the harassment is clear evidence of persecution and a deliberate desire to break him physically and psychologically. The Moroccan authorities must urgently order the prison administration to put a stop to all the various forms of aggression against Radi and other arbitrarily detained journalists.
A leaflet entitled “Human rights and prisons” that the United Nations published for prison guards in 2005 says no detainee should be “subject to arbitrary interference in their private life, their family, home or correspondence” and that “every detainee has the right to communicate with the outside world, in particular with their family.”
When Radi was transferred from Ain Sebaa (Oukacha) prison in Casablanca to Tiflet 2 prison in April 2022, all of his documents and personal notes were confiscated. And he reported that he had been ordered to stop writing. He was subjected to further punitive measures after he took part in a one-day hunger strike on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Radi, who was awarded the 2022 RSF Prize for Independence, is not the only Moroccan journalists to be denied his rights and subjected to intimidation in prison. Former newspaper publisherTaoufik Bouachrine was deprived of medical care last month then he refused to wear a prison uniform during a hospital visit.
Souleimane Raissouni, a journalist held since May 2020 who is currently awaiting a response from the court of cassation to his appeal, was transferred without any warning in May 2022 from Oukacha prison to Ain Borja prison, which is far from where his family lives. And all of his documents and books were torn up during the transfer, since when he has been held in isolation. This flagrant violation of his rights as a detainee were condemned by RSF at the time.