Good governance and rule of law

The Casablanca Court of Appeal sentenced journalist and human rights defender Omar Radi to six years in prison on Thursday for “undermining the internal security of the state” and “rape.”

The verdict, which confirms the first instance verdict, was described as “very harsh” by the journalist’s lawyer, Miloud Kandil, who told AFP that “all the elements proving Omar Radi’s innocence were presented to the court but unfortunately nothing was taken into account.” The lawyer also announced that he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Ahmed Benchemsi, communication director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in this context that “this iniquitous verdict is the logical conclusion of a trial that has lost all credibility through violations of the rights of the defence,” adding that “the charges of espionage were inadmissible because they were based on nothing. As for the rape charge, it would have deserved a fair trial, both for the accused and the complainant.”

Imed Stitou, another 32-year-old journalist, was sentenced to one year in prison, including six months in prison, in the same rape case. The journalist was initially presented as the sole witness for the prosecution before being prosecuted as a free man during the investigation.