British Economic Consulting Firms He covers human … A review of the New York Times archives supports this assertion. And its leaders were asking for hospitals, jobs, job opportunities and public services. These cookies do not store any personal information. Providing information to foreign governments or entities can constitute a recognizable criminal offense, depending on the nature of the information and the recipient and the intent of the provider. The removal led some Moroccan outlets to suggest NYT’s editorial board had doubts about Amnesty International’s claims, but an NYT representative’s response suggests otherwise. 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.. Omar Radi, 33, is due to be tried on January 2, 2020 for allegedly insulting a judge who imposed heavy penalties on protesters from the Rif region. Rabat – The New York Times has deleted from its website a Reuters article dated June 22, 2020, that briefs the report Amnesty International (AI) … Since the report’s publication, the Moroccan government has repeatedly demanded material evidence to prove the spying allegations, and evidence that shows the organization contacted Moroccan officials before publishing the report. Morocco has a history of arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning independent journalists, activists, or politicians on questionable charges of sex outside of wedlock or sexual assault. The URL of the deleted article still contains the date of publication and the keywords “reuters,” “cyber, “nso group,” and “morocco.” But the article itself has been wiped clean, leaving only a “Page No Longer Available” message. These cases take place in a context in which Moroccan women typically face barriers to reporting sexual violence and pursuing redress, including where they can find themselves prosecuted for sex outside of marriage if their claim of rape is not believed, and in which conviction rates are low. Conveniently left out of the emerging narrative of another “dissident journalist hero” being martyred for speaking truth to power is the fact that only a few weeks prior Radi … Chouf TV was mentioned as part of the “Slander Media,” a group of websites reportedly tied with security services that was denounced on July 16 by a collective of 110 Moroccan journalists for bombarding dissidents with “defamation, insults and calumny” each time the authorities placed them under investigation. The woman, Radi, and a third employee of Le Desk, Imad Stitou, a journalist, had been invited to stay for the night, and each was assigned a separate couch to sleep on in a large living room on the ground floor. The articles often included vulgar insults and personal information. still contains the date of publication and the keywords “reuters,” “cyber, “nso group,” and “morocco.” But the article itself has been wiped clean, leaving only a “Page No Longer Available” message. The journalist replied that he simply written an article about “the financial situation of a private Moroccan company” for a consultancy firm that “currently has a British Foreign Office pensioner on staff, who left in 2011.” The grant was part of a program called Bertha Challenge, which supports Bertha fellows to answer the question: “How is the nexus between property, profit, and politics contributing to land and housing injustice, and what can be done to fix this?” For the police, this amounted to Radi agreeing to an assignment from a foreign organization whose purpose is to stir up a sentiment of injustice among the Moroccan public over land expropriation. Omar’s project is on land expropriation in Morocco. Monjib, who stayed in Morocco, has been attacked and insulted repeatedly by websites close to security services. The Bertha Foundation On July 2, a communique read by the Moroccan government’s spokesman at a news conference after a government meeting announced that Radi was “subjected to a judiciary investigation for presumably harming State security because of his connection with an intelligence agent of a foreign country.” The official statement set the tone for a months-long campaign of defamation of Radi on websites reportedly tied with Moroccan security services. He claims the sexual encounter, which happened 10 days earlier, was consensual. A Moroccan court has agreed to release on bail a journalist-activist who defended anti-government protesters in a tweet. “The attacks occurred over a period when Radi was being repeatedly harassed by the Moroccan authorities, with one attack taking place just days after NSO pledged to stop its products being used in human rights abuses and continued until at least January 2020,” Amnesty said. The outlets suggested the American media giant may be unsure of the veracity of the Amnesty International report. Mounting troubles for Omar Radi. Two witnesses to the incident told Human Rights Watch that Alaoui had been waiting outside the pub for hours while Radi was inside, and started filming him the minute he and Stitou walked out, around 11 p.m. before publishing the report. “When you see your name and your private information exposed in there, you think twice before taking public positions again.” He spoke anonymously, for fear of further retaliation by those websites and the police, which he says work hand-in-hand. The journalist is known for criticizing human rights violations in the country. Moroccan authorities furiously denied the accusation, even though a court had in late 2017 approved the tapping of Radi’s phone. Erriq, like Mansouri, claimed that the police set him up and fabricated the evidence of adultery, including forcibly undressing and photographing him at the scene. Get updates on human rights issues from around the globe. Morocco World News contacted the New York Times for comment on the reason for the article’s removal. In a Facebook post dated August 25, the woman who accuses Radi of rape responded to Bernani’s Washington Post op-ed. In January 2019, the Geneva-based Bertha Foundation awarded a grant to Radi. What was Omar Radi working on for the Bertha Challenge? However, there are precedents in Morocco of arresting, trying, or imprisoning independent journalists, activists, or politicians on questionable charges of sexual misconduct. Eid Al Adha in Morocco: How Many Sheep Can You Fit in a Jeep. Radi’s work for these firms, along with his contacts with the Netherlands Embassy, form the basis for the accusation that he harmed “external security” under the Penal Code article 191. Two months earlier, a leading member of the Islamist opposition Justice and Benevolence (Al Adl wa’l Ihsan) movement, El-Mostafa Erriq, and a woman he was visiting were arrested and detained for three days. Driss Radi, Omar’s father, told Human Rights Watch that the intense police scrutiny and fierce defamation campaign were akin to “psychological torture” for his son, and provided a psychiatrist’s note, dated July 28, certifying that Omar’s mental health mandated an “absence from work” for 30 days, effective immediately. Beginning on June 26, 2020, the judicial police, gendarmerie, and prosecutors summoned Radi for 12 interrogation sessions of six to nine hours each about multiple accusations, including allegedly providing “espionage services” to foreign governments, firms, and organizations. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to the use of ALL the cookies. In 2015, authorities accused a history professor, Maati Monjib, and four media freedom activists – Hicham Mansouri, Hicham Khreibchi (also known as Hicham Al-Miraat), Samad Ait Aicha, and Mohamed Essaber – of violating article 206 after they received funding from a Dutch nongovernmental group to develop training for citizen journalists. Omar Radi continues to reject and deny all accusations against him, including rape. Alaoui was charged with the last two of these charges. Morocco is one of the customers of NSO,” he insisted. “Articles written by Reuters or the Associated Press do not remain on the [New York Times] site [for] more than a limited time. His accuser, who has stepped forward publicly, has a right to be heard and respected, and, like Radi, a right to fair judicial proceedings. Media close to the security services that specialize in maligning critics published numerous articles insulting Radi, his parents, friends, and supporters; disclosing alleged details of his private life; and correctly forecasting the date of his arrest. Muzzling Journalists: Morocco and Algeria Can Agree on That, Morocco: Crackdown on Social Media Critics, Morocco: Free Outspoken Journalist Jailed Over Tweet, Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response, Saudi Arabia: Migrants Held in Inhuman, Degrading Conditions, Armenia: Cluster Munitions Used in Multiple Attacks on Azerbaijan, Despite Prime Minister’s Promises, Disappearances Continue in Iraq, communique read by the Moroccan government’s spokesman, seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, judicial harassment attributable to nothing other than his investigative journalism, statement she gave to the police was forged, correctly alluded to the future date of arrest. Charges of Indecent Assault and Rape “You are a propagator of fake news,” she wrote in a separate tweet targeting Barlamane. The messages included apparently nothing more than arrangements to set up meetings between the two men. The rape and indecent assault charges against Radi are based on a complaint filed on July 23 by a woman who works at the same news website as him. Radi denied that he knew at the time of any intelligence affiliation of his contact in the British economic advisory company, and denied that he provided that person or that company any services beyond conventional research into private corporations. Radi is a freelance investigative journalist who writes primarily for Le Desk and is a member of the ICIJ journalism consortium. also indicated that the New York Times’ move might encourage other big papers to make similar decisions. “The espionage charges and a cascade of other charges appear concocted to take Omar Radi down.” … Mansouri, Al Miraat, and Ait Aicha fled Morocco after what they described as a campaign of state harassment. with Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said Amnesty International failed to be neutral and objective in the June 22 report. The move led some local outlets to suggest the New York Times’ editorial board may have doubts about Amnesty International’s claims, for which AI has failed to provide tangible evidence. Human Rights Watch interviewed Radi before he was arrested, as well as his father, his 2 lawyers, 3 of his colleagues, 4 witnesses in 2 of the incidents for which he is being prosecuted, and several members of his support committee. The outlet also has individual sections on its website dedicated to recent top news articles from Reuters and the Associated Press. Moreover, accusations such as “harming [a nation’s] diplomatic position” and “undermining loyalty to State institutions” are too vague, and risk criminalization of lawful activities, including free expression. We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. That such information may reflect poorly on those in power, or that the recipient may use it to speak critically of them, does not justify criminalizing collecting, or sharing it. The police arrested him the next day. Between June 7 and September 15, Human Rights Watch counted at least 136 articles attacking Radi, his family, and supporters in the Moroccan news websites Chouf TV, Barlamane, Le360, in their Arabic and French versions. Radi says the article contained details taken from conversations he had on the encrypted apps Signal and WhatsApp, and he suspects government intelligence officers … Radi, an award-winning investigative journalist and human rights activist, has published articles about land grabs by speculators and corruption of officials, and collaborated with various Moroccan and international media as a correspondent or stringer. If convicted of undermining national security under Articles 191 and 206 of the Moroccan penal code, Radi could face a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 dirhams ($107 to $1,071) and one to five years in prison; if convicted of sexual assault under Articles 485 and 486, he could face up to 10 years in prison. But in principle, collecting non-classified information about social conditions, government actions, or business activities and sharing it with other parties, through whatever means, is protected by the internationally recognized right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers,” according to the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Morocco ratified in 1979. Tax evasion in Morocco is punished by fines, except in cases of repeat offenses, which carry short prison sentences. Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. The court also sentenced Raissouni’s fiancé and the doctor accused of performing the abortion to one and two years in prison, respectively. Radi told Human Rights Watch that the police confiscated his smartphone during his arrest, and that a police officer told him that the police had viewed its contents, including conversations on the encrypted messaging app Signal. In June, Amnesty International reported that Radi’s smartphone had been penetrated by potent spyware that its developer said it sells only to governments. Omar Radi is the only one to have disclosed elements of the investigations, in an obvious attempt to maintain the misleading perception of an alleged "judicial harassment" against him. However, while Radi said the sex was consensual, the woman said she was assaulted. Omar Radi told Morocco World News on June 23 that he was involved in the making of the report. The testimony Stitou later provided to the gendarmerie was consistent with Radi’s account, as the accuser herself acknowledged in an interview. Charges of Espionage and Harming State Security Such examinations, when performed without consent, amount to cruel and degrading treatment under international human rights standards. While his phone was under surveillance, Radi exchanged text messages with a diplomat working at the embassy of the Netherlands in Rabat. Voir mon tweet ci dessous Chouf TV, Barlamane, and Le360 are part of what a collective of 110 Moroccan journalists denounced on July 16 as “Slander Media,” a group of websites “whose editorial line consists in attacking voices that bother those in power.” One of those reports, which disclosed details of the police investigation on Radi, was briefly available online and then deleted. The prosecutor’s case against Radi is apparently based on text exchanges he had with a foreign diplomat, contracts he signed with foreign corporate consulting firms to conduct research inside Morocco, and journalistic research he received a grant to conduct on the social impact of collective land expropriations. local outlets such as Barlamane and Chouf TV as “proxies” of Moroccan authorities after they published reports on the retracted article. Human Rights Watch obtained a PDF version of it. The police and the prosecutor apparently concluded that Radi’s services were not an innocent consultancy, but rather espionage. Rabat – The New York Times has deleted from its website a Reuters article dated June 22, 2020, that briefs the report Amnesty International published the same day, alleging the Moroccan government has used spyware against journalist Omar Radi. His judicial investigation, scheduled to begin on September 22, 2020, raises concerns that authorities are abusing the justice system to silence one of the few remaining critical voices in Moroccan media.   Thanks for subscribing! The detention, trial and conviction are part of Morocco’s policy of persecuting dissidents, Amnesty says. Will Dudding of NYT’s Standards and Corrections Department explained that AP- and Reuters-sourced articles “hosted on our website are placed there and removed via an automated service.”, He also noted that “in general, New York Times staff members do not write, edit or review these articles.”. I think they have no evidence against me and this is an empty case. On September 2, Radi’s lawyers requested that their client be released provisionally pending trial. The arrest of Omar Radi, a controversial Moroccan journalist, subject of a recent Amnesty International campaign against Rabat, on rape and spy charges, sparked another wave of outrage in the internationalmedia. No violence occurred, said the witnesses. Sex Offense Cases in a Politicized Context Barlamane vous êtes des menteurs et des propagateurs de fake news. The police arrested Radi and Stitou, while letting Alaoui free. (Washington, DC) – Moroccan authorities have jailed an outspoken journalist and activist, Omar Radi, on espionage and other charges that seem backed by scant evidence, Human Rights Watch said today. The appeals verdict is expected on September 23. Sign up to the best of our news, informed analysis and opinions on what matters to you. “Morocco has a long history of prosecuting peaceful critics on criminal charges, but the prosecutorial pile-on against Omar Radi takes the cake,” Goldstein said. The first charge was for alleged indecent assault with violence and rape following a complaint filed by his colleague, a journalist also working at the Le website. Based on police findings, the prosecutor contends that Radi’s activities violate Morocco’s Penal Code article 191 by “harming external state security by maintaining an intelligence relationship with agents of a foreign authority with the purpose or effect to harm the diplomatic situation of Morocco.” Radi’s activities, the prosecutor contends, also warrant charges under article 206 of “harming state internal security by receiving remuneration from a foreign entity for an activity or propaganda that could shake the loyalty that citizens owe to the state and the institutions of the Moroccan people.” The work that forms the focus of the “espionage” case involves both journalistic work and research he conducted on contract for foreign-based clients. This is not the first time the authorities have set their sights on Radi. The foundation offers paid fellowships to journalists and activists who work to bring about economic and social change. Radi and Stitou were charged with public drunkenness, violence, insults, and filming a person without their authorization. In the past few years, hundreds of other articles were published in those websites and others with comparable editorial lines, attacking Moroccan journalists, activists, and artists critical of the authorities. This apparently forms the basis for accusing Radi of violating Penal Code article 191, which punishes the crime of “harming the external security of the State by sharing intelligence with foreign agents in order to undermine Morocco’s diplomatic situation” with up to five years in prison. The grant’s purpose was for Radi to conduct research on the social impact of land expropriation for public utility purposes in Morocco. In a symposium organized in Rabat in 2017 by several human rights organizations, the conclusions of which were published in a book in 2019, several journalists and university professors denounced the “Slander Media’s” defamation campaigns against Moroccan dissidents. The undersigned international Human Rights organizations call on Moroccan authorities to immediately end their harassment of Moroccan journalist Omar Radi. During this period, a judge approved a prosecutor’s request to tap Radi’s phone. A video of the incident features Alaoui hurling insults at Radi, calling him a “thief” and a “drunk.” Radi told Human Rights Watch he suspects the incident was a provocation based on the fact that the police intervened almost immediately and arrested him and Stitou while Alaoui, who had been stalking him for days, was not detained and faces lesser charges. The spyware technology is the same as that described in a leaked document from 2015 linked to Israeli’s, Since the report’s publication, the Moroccan government has, material evidence to prove the spying allegations, and evidence that shows the organization. Radi was placed under pretrial detention on July 29 by the investigative judge who justified this measure on the basis of “the danger of the criminal acts, the harm to public order, and the presence of evidence,” Radi’s lawyers told Human Rights Watch. French language site Le 360 speculated that Radi had ties to MI6, the UK’s intelligence agency. Regarding the allegation that the prosecution of Omar Radi is motivated by his critical views of the government: Amnesty International has failed to meet these requests. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Radi, who has been in Oukacha Prison, in Casablanca, since his arrest on July 29, will appear before an investigative judge on September 22 on accusations of “harming the external security of the State by sharing intelligence with foreign agents in order to undermine Morocco’s diplomatic situation,” “harming the domestic security of the State by receiving foreign funds in order to undermine the citizens’ loyalty to Moroccan institutions,” “indecent assault with violence,” rape, violating Morocco’s general tax code, and tax evasion. Stitou and Alaoui are provisionally free pending a first court hearing on this case scheduled for September 24. Human Rights Watch also read news reports on websites that are reportedly close to security services, including some that appeared to set out the case presented to the investigative judge. According to the press close to power, this mission would in fact have had the purpose of “Arouse a feeling of social injustice among Moroccan citizens “ for’ “Undermine loyalty to national institutions”. It’s large, and I don’t know. Earlier this year, as part of an investigation into land rights abuses, he interviewed villagers who later called him to retract their quotes, saying they had been threatened by the police. In response to our inquiry regarding the AI article and NYT’s editorial standards, he also noted that “in general, New York Times staff members do not write, edit or review these articles.”. The June 22 publication alleged that the government … Omar Radi investigative journalist and human rights activist has been the subject of a violent campaign of intimidation by the Moroccan authorities. The defense challenged that decision on September 2, arguing that pretrial detention should be reserved for exceptional cases, referencing Morocco’s Constitution, domestic laws, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They argued that pretrial detention has to be exceptional under the law and that such an exception doesn’t apply to Radi, who is under a travel ban and has pledged to participate fully in the judicial process. His trial has not yet begun. The human rights NGO says its analysis of Radi’s cell phone showed that malware infected the device using a “network injection.” This allegedly occurred while the phone was connected to the internet through an LTE/4G mobile connection on January 27, February 11, and September 13, 2019. Amnesty International published a report on June 22 in which it alleges that Moroccan security services used Israeli software to spy on Radi. She had been prosecuted for claiming that a statement she gave to the police was forged to falsely reflect that she accused Bouachrine of sexually molesting her. In May 2015, a court in Rabat sentenced Hicham Mansouri, a media freedom activist, and a female co-defendant to 10 months in prison for adultery. In late 2017, while massive yet overwhelmingly peaceful socio-economic protests rocked Morocco’s northern Rif region, Radi visited the region frequently to work on a documentary film about the “Hirak” protest movement. Such broadly worded offenses are so open to arbitrary interpretation by judges that a person cannot reasonably predict what acts will be considered crimes, Human Rights Watch said. The total amount of these payments, between 2012 and 2020, amounted to about $15,000. A New York Times standards representative told MWN that such removals are, in fact, standard practice and part of an automated process.

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