Morocco accuses Amnesty International of interfering in judicial processes

The Superior Council of the Judicial Power of Morocco (CSPJ) has not liked the interference of Amnesty International (AI) in the judicial process against the opposition journalist, Omar Radi. The CSPJ accused the human rights organization in a statement considering that AI’s attitude represents “a flagrant attack against the independence of justice”, by sending a letter to the President of the Government, Saadedin Otmani, on September 9, to demand the release of the Moroccan reporter.

The Moroccan journalist, previously investigated for alleged espionage, was admitted to prison in preventive detention and charged with an alleged crime of rape.

According to a statement from the Casablanca Prosecutor’s Office, the accusation of alleged sexual abuse occurred after “a complaint by a citizen and by virtue of an investigation carried out by the members of the Judicial Police of the Royal Gendarmerie” of the city.

“Attacking the security of the State” is another crime of which the Moroccan Prosecutor’s Office accuses the reporter, for his alleged links with a foreign intelligence agent with the aim of “damaging Moroccan diplomacy.”

Faced with these events, Amnesty International began a campaign to demand Radi’s release. On September 9, AI launched “an urgent action” to ask the Moroccan authorities to release Radia until the day of his trial, on September 22. “Omar’s investigations into the relationships between political interests and large companies, as well as his harsh criticisms of Morocco’s human rights record, have made him a target of repression, as the authorities seek to silence dissenting voices,” writes the organization.

“The note (from AI) includes many inaccuracies that threaten the independence of justice and gives the impression that there is government control (of the judiciary,” the CSPJ said in a note.

The CSPJ insisted that Radi is being tried after being accused of two crimes, rape and attack against the security of the State, and “not for his journalistic work.”

The campaign launched by AI on June 22 claimed that the reporter’s phone has been subjected to espionage by the Moroccan government through a technology developed by the Israeli company NSO. This program gives full access to messages, emails, media, microphone, camera, calls and phone contacts.

Omar Radi, 33 years old and winner of the 2013 investigative journalism award from the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism, is a regular contributor to various local and international media, and is considered one of the most critical journalists with power in the Maghreb country.

Last March, the Court of First Instance of Casablanca issued a sentence of four months in prison against Radi for having proffered “insults to a judge” on his Twitter account.