Reporters without Borders (RWB) said this week that, in a ‘dangerous manipulation of the judicial system in Morocco‘, three cases will be heard against four four prominent journalists.
The cases are being brought against four journalists: Omar Radi, Imad Stitou, Maati Monjib and Suleiman Raissouni. The four journalists are all critics of the Moroccan government .
The four are facing sentences of up to ten years in prison on sex charges or for allegedly threatening state security.
Omar Radi, a freelance reporter and human rights defender, is the most well-known of the four journalists. Because of his coverage of sensitive issues, Radi has been held since 29 July 2020 on charges of indecent assault with violence’ and raping a young women journalist, with whom he has always said the relationship was consensual.
The trial of Suleiman Raissouni, the editor of the daily newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum was due to start in Casablanca on 30 March, but his trial has been postponed until 15 April. He is facing a possible ten-year jail sentence under article 485 of the penal code on a charge of ‘Indecent assault with violence and kidnapping’.
The charges against him are said to be politically motivated. The Solidarity Committee with the Journalist Souleuiman Raissouni is of the view that Journalist Souleiman Raissouni has been subject to stereotypical targeting of journalists. Such targeting relies on charges of repeated sexual assault and spying on the private lives of journalists.
The Committee has called for Raissouni’s immediate release.
Raissouni went on an open hunger strike from 9 April 2021 to protest his ongoing detention.
‘These judicial cases bear all the hallmarks of reprisals against journalists and media outlets that are disliked by the authorities,” said Souhaieb Khayat, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk, expressing his alarm at this ‘dangerous manipulation of the Moroccan justice system.’
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