Moroccans protest detention of journalist

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Several hundred protesters demonstrated in the Moroccan capital Rabat over the weekend against the arrest of journalist and activist Omar Radi, who was detained for criticising a court ruling on Twitter in April.

He was taken into custody on Thursday and his trial began the same day. He had castigated a magistrate’s verdict against members of “Hirak”, a protest movement who were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

“The pressure on journalists is not new, and the examples of Mahdaoui and Bouaachrine speak for themselves. But here, we really reach a higher level of repression by arresting someone for a simple tweet in which he expressed himself freely and criticized the justice system,” one protester said.

Another added, “I am at this demonstration today in Rabat to condemn and denounce the illegal arrest, which is a political revenge against investigative journalist Omar Radi. Omar Radi is arrested because he exposed, he spoke, he wrote, he documented the corruption of the ruling elite in the so-called “Servants of the State” affair.”

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights AMDH condemned what it said was a “fierce campaign by the state against freedom of opinion and expression”.

A YouTuber was recently sentenced to four years in prison for “insulting the king”, a high school student was sentenced to three years in prison for a Facebook posting and an activist was detained for another posting on social networks.

 

Dominica Nwabufo

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