Moroccan authorities asked to stop harassing leading investigative reporter

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Moroccan authorities to stop harassing Omar Radi, an investigative reporter and human right defender who has been summoned for questioning by security officials in Casablanca today.

Radi, 33, who is the co-creator of the news website Le Desk and is well known for his coverage of protests and corruption, announced yesterday that he has been summoned for questioning today by a unit at the Directorate General for National Security.

The prosecutor’s office issued a statement describing the summons as part of an investigation into Radi’s alleged involvement in a case of receiving “funds from abroad in connection with intelligence services.”

The summons came just three days after Amnesty International reported that the Moroccan authorities had used a spyware app called Pegasus developed by the Israeli technology company NSO Group to hack into Radi’s phone and monitor his activities.

Instead of shedding light on the illegal surveillance of Omar Radi, the Moroccan authorities have preferred to target this journalist and initiate proceedings against him on the sole basis of unverified information circulating on social networks,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk. “We urge them to immediately cease their harassment of an independent journalist who has just done his job and who is now facing up to five years in prison.”

Radi was given a suspended sentence of four months in prison on 17 March for an April 2019 tweet criticizing a Casablanca appeal court judge’s decision to impose sentences of up to 20 years in prison on a total of 42 people for participating in the “Hirak” protests in northern Morocco’s Rif region in 2016 and 2017.

Describing the judge as an “executioner”, Radi tweeted: “These shameless officials should be neither forgotten nor forgiven.”

Morocco is ranked 133rd out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 25.06.2020