In this March 5, 2020 photo, Omar Radi speaks to the media after a legal hearing at the Casablanca Courthouse related to one of his tweets. Moroccan authorities have repeatedly questioned Radi and banned him from traveling outside Morocco. (AP/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

CPJ calls on Moroccan authorities to stop harassing Omar Radi

New York, July 2, 2020–Moroccan authorities must immediately stop harassing Omar Radi, investigative journalist at the news website Le Desk, and allow him to work and travel freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, the National Brigade of Judicial Police in Casablanca summoned Radi to appear today in connection to an investigation into suspicions that he is “receiving funds linked to foreign intelligence services,” according to Radi, who spoke to CPJ over messaging app, and news reports. Radi said he was interrogated for five hours in the same case on June 25, and a judge ordered him to not travel outside of the country until the conclusion of the investigation. If convicted of receiving foreign funding, Radi could face at least one year in prison, he said.

“Moroccan authorities must immediately stop harassing Omar Radi with legal threats and investigations, and allow him to travel freely,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour in Washington, D.C. “The Moroccan government’s ‘suspicions’ that Radi received funding from foreign intelligence services are not fooling anyone; the claim is merely an excuse to further squeeze press freedom in the Kingdom.”

The National Brigade of Judicial Police and the Ministry of Justice did not return CPJ’s requests for comment sent to their official Facebook pages.

Radi and other independent journalists last year described to CPJ how they work in a climate of surveillance and harassment, including by pro-government media.