Campaigning journalist Omar Radi was detained and charged with “insulting the judiciary” on 26 December, his lawyer has said. He will face prosecutors on 2 January in connection with a comment he made on Twitter 9 months ago about the role of the judge in the conviction of protest leaders from the Rif region. A massive popular movement, or hirak, began in the Rif in 2016 following the horrific killing of Mohsine Fikri in the back of a bin lorry, where he was crushed to death while trying to retrieve fish he was selling from government officials who had confiscated it. Omar has played a key role in documenting the rise of the movement which expanded rapidly from calling for justice for Fikri to general demands for social justice and civil liberties.
Omar has played a key role in reporting on this movement. In collaboration with activist group ATTAC he produced a documentary, Death over humiliation (2018) which explores the roots of the popular uprising in the Rif and the solidarity it sparked across Morocco. The peaceful protest movement has faced intensifying repression. Omar spoke out on Twitter in solidarity with 42 activists from the hirak who were sentenced to jail terms of up to 20 years in April 2019. According to his lawyers, it is these comments on Twitter which prosecutors are now investigating.
The charges against Omar follow the announcement of a four-year jail sentence for a popular YouTuber, Mohamed Sekkaki, known as “Moul Kaskita” who criticised the King, AFP reported on 27 December.
But the crackdown is sparking protests. Hundreds of campaigners joined a rally outside the Moroccan parliament on 28 December calling for Omar’s release.
What you can do:
- Pass a resolution in solidarity with Omar and political prisoners in Morocco through your union branch
- Send a letter of protest to the Moroccan embassy demanding respect for freedom of expression and calling for the release of Omar and all other political prisoners in Morocco