Lawyers appeal to Moroccan King to free 'wrongfully' jailed journalists Omar Radi and Souleiman Raissouni

Lawyers appeal to Moroccan King to free 'wrongfully' jailed journalists Omar Radi and Souleiman Raissouni
2 min read
11 July, 2023
After being sentenced to five years in prison for what many rights groups and the UN consider to be wrongful convictions, the lawyers of journalists Omar Radi and Souleiman Raissouni are calling on their clients to be freed.
Omar Radi and Souleiman Raissouni have received support from fellow journalists across North Africa [Getty]

Lawyers for journalists and rights activists held in Morocco called on the authorities Monday to find a "judicial, political and legal solution" that would enable their clients to be freed.

"I call on the judiciary and the highest authority in the land (King Mohamed VI) to come up with a judicial, political and legal solution" to these cases, lawyer Mohamed Messaoudi told reporters in Casablanca.

The news conference was organised by a local group that advocates freedom of political prisoners in the North African country.

"We have great hopes that there will be an end to imprisonment and prosecutions, either by reviewing the cases still before the courts, or maybe even benefiting from a pardon," added Messaoudi, who has defended journalists Omar Radi and Souleiman Raissouni.

In Morocco, a pardon can be granted by the sovereign or also, in theory, by parliament.


Radi and Raissouni were sentenced to six and five years respectively in cases of sexual assault, charges they denied, after trials their supporters said were tainted by "irregularities".

The authorities said they were tried and convicted in cases that had nothing to do with freedom of expression.

A court of cassation is due to rule on Thursday on the fate of the two journalists.

"As lawyers and defenders of human rights, we call for the immediate liberation of all political prisoners," lawyer Souad Brahma said.

She said the conditions in which some are being held "do not respect basic rights".

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This is the case with both Raissouni -- "whose state of health has got worse in solitary confinement" -- and Radi, she told reporters.

In early May, rights group Amnesty International accused Morocco's prison system of denying jailed journalists and activists access to materials so they can read and write.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also expressed concern about "restrictive measures" placed on Radi.

The prison authorities have denounced such allegations as "lies" intended to blacken the country's human rights image at home and abroad.