Jailed Morocco journalist probed by court on rape charge

RABAT, MOROCCO (AP) – A Moroccan journalist and human rights activist held by authorities for weeks on charges of undermining state security, receiving foreign funding and rape, appeared before an investigating judge in Casablanca on Tuesday.

Omar Radi’s hearing focussed on the charges of “indecent assault with violence and rape” based on a complaint filed by a woman, according to his lawyer, Miloud Kandil. “Radi has denied the allegation of rape and maintained his innocence throughout the hearing,” Kandil told The Associated Press.

Radi, who was arrested in late July and jailed in Casablanca, has become something of a cause celebre for journalists in Morocco. The 34-year-old gained prominence last year after his arrest for a tweet that criticised a judge for upholding heavy prison sentences against anti-government protestors.

He was tried in March, given a four-month suspended sentence and fined MAD500 (USD52).

Human rights organisations staged a protest on Tuesday at the Casablanca courthouse along with Radi’s parents. Bearing banners and placards, they asked authorities to drop all charges and allow him to work again. “Journalism is not a crime”, read one sign.

Omar’s father, Driss Radi said that he does not understand why his son is detained.