'It's Not Spy-craft': Morocco's Trials of Journalists Spark Criticism

Published July 14th, 2021 - 06:53 GMT
protest in Morocco
At least three journalists are facing charges in Morocco. (Twitter)

Since 2019, the case of Moroccan journalists facing trial has sparked controversy across the North African country. Yet, the latest decision of the court to stop the media from covering trial developments has reignited the public outcry for more respect of speech and press freedoms.

In Casablanca, 34-year old Omar Radi is facing charges related to rape and undermining state security. Even though the judge justified his decision to curb media coverage of the case citing "considerations of the honor of the defendant," online voices expressed their concern over the transparency of the trial, hoping that the decision can soon be overturned and the public continues to learn all details connected to accusations facing Radi.

According to his lawyer, Radi was arrested in December 2019 following a tweet in which he criticized "a judge prosecuting protest leaders" in Morocco. 

However, Moroccan online people are in fear that authorities are cracking down on journalists who report violations and are outspoken about corruption and politicians is linked to it. 

These fears have been supported by the latest a 5-year jail sentence against a journalist Soulaimane Raissouni, who has been accused of "an indecent attack on a man," while civil society figures linked his arrest to his reporting activity.

The US State Department has expressed its "disappointment" over the Raissouni verdict, urging Moroccan authorities to respect human rights and freedom of expression in the country.

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