Moroccan appeals courtroom upholds six-year sentence for dissident journalist Omar Radi

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Moroccan journalist and rights activist Omar Radi has been sentenced on enchantment to 6 years in jail on espionage and rape fees.

Radi, a 35-year-old freelance journalist referred to as a recognized vocal critic of the authorities, has insisted on his innocence all through his two-year-long trial.

“My only fault is to have demanded independent justice,” Radi stated earlier than the choose’s verdict on Thursday, to applause from supporters within the courtroom.

Accused of undermining state safety with “foreign financing” and of rape, Radi was initially sentenced final July.

His trial started in 2020 simply days after human rights group Amnesty International stated Moroccan authorities had planted Pegasus adware on his cellphone – a declare denied by Morocco.

Radi’s arrest and detention was protested by rights activists, intellectuals and politicians each contained in the nation and overseas.

Earlier this week, the prosecution had known as for “the maximum sentence” in opposition to him. Rape is punishable by as much as ten years imprisonment.

After the unique sentence was upheld, defence lawyer Miloud Kandil known as it “a very hard judgment”.

“We have exposed all the elements proving the innocence of Omar Radi before the court but sadly nothing has been taken into account,” he advised AFP.

In the identical case, fellow journalist Imad Stitou was sentenced to at least one yr in jail.

Stitou, who was initially introduced as the only real witness for the prosecution, was stated to have been current with Radi when he allegedly raped a lady.

Stitou left Morocco for Tunisia and was tried in absentia.

Radi’s is the newest in a sequence of harsh sentences handed in opposition to journalists within the North African kingdom and in neighbouring Algeria.

Authorities in each international locations have detained and tried journalists on fees starting from harming nationwide pursuits to sexual assault.

Morocco is at present ranked 136th out of 180 international locations on watchdog RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.