Morocco journalist Omar Radi's family decries 'hardening' of his prison conditions

Morocco journalist Omar Radi's family decries 'hardening' of his prison conditions
Omar Radi was sentenced to on appeal to six years in prison in last month on charges of espionage and rape, a decision condemned by rights groups.
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Demonstrators rally behind Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, who was sentenced to six years in prison last year [Getty]

Moroccan journalist and rights activist Omar Radi was transferred from a Casablanca prison to a jail further north, his father said Saturday, decrying a "hardening" of his son's incarceration conditions.

Accused of espionage and rape, Radi, a freelance journalist and a vocal critic of the authorities, was sentenced on appeal to six years in prison last month.

He maintained his innocence throughout his two-year-long trial.

Idris Radi said his son's transfer to the Tifelt prison, some 150 kilometres (95 miles) from the Casablanca facility where he had been detained, was a sign of a "hardening of his detention and of vengeance towards him, his family and his defence committee".

Radi has been taken "much further away" from the Casablanca hospital where he was receiving ongoing treatment for Crohn's disease, his father told AFP.

Radi's trial began in 2020, just days after human rights group Amnesty International said Moroccan authorities had planted Pegasus spyware on his cellphone- a claim Morocco denied.

On Wednesday, Amnesty denounced "the continuation of restrictions" on freedom of expression in Morocco and accused authorities of using a coronavirus-related state of emergency to prevent peaceful demonstrations.

A government rights body on Friday accused Amnesty of "meddling in legal matters" and said the rights group's position "is nothing more than political interference".

Morocco is currently ranked 136th out of 180 countries on watchdog RSF's World Press Freedom Index.