Justice for Soulaiman Raissouni and Omar Radi !
We, the undersigned, call upon the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco to respect the fundamental rights of Moroccan journalists, Soulaiman Raissouni and Omar Radi, currently incarcerated in Okasha Prison in Casablanca.
Soulaiman Raissouni, a highly respected and widely read journalist who writes in Arabic, is known for his professionalism and independent editorial line. He has written about political reform, abuse of power, corruption, cronyism, poverty, among other topics. At the time of his arrest, he was editor-in-chief of the independent daily, Akhbar Al Yom.
Raissouni was arrested on 22 May 2020 and charged with violating public morality via sexual assault and sequestration (“attentat a la pudeur avec violence et sequestration”) of a young man in 2018. The prosecutor based this accusation on an anonymous Facebook post.
Omar Radi is a first-rate freelance investigative journalist. He has written about land grabs, corruption by high officials, police surveillance and violations of human rights.
Radi was arrested on 29 July 2020. He was charged with espionage and undermining state security; he was accused of rape, as well.
Both Raissouni and Radi deny all the charges against them. Their trials opened several months after their arrests, but the proceedings have been postponed several times. Not only have they remained in detention all this time, but they are kept in isolation with limited contact with their families.
Both Raissouni and Radi are being denied the fundamental right to remain at liberty while the trial is underway – a right enshrined in Moroccan law. Because of the denial of their right to remain at liberty, combined with the unusually long period of incarceration prior to trial, they decided to go on hunger strike to protest the violations of their fundamental rights. Raissouni began his hunger strike on 8 April 2021 and Radi followed on 9 April.
Both men have chronic diseases. According to Reporters Sans Frontières, Raissouni suffers from hypertension and Radi, from asthma and Crohn’s Disease. Since their incarceration, Raissouni has lost more than 15 kilos (33 lbs.) and Radi, 10 kilos (22 lbs.). It may well be that at this time, these two young and talented men are at the threshold of slow death.
We demand that the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco grant Soulaiman Raissouni and Omar Radi their right to freedom pending trial and their right to a fair trial, and to immediately release them from prison.
Abdellah Hammoudi, Princeton University
John Waterbury, Princeton University
Jonathan Wyrtzen, Yale University
Fiona McLaughlin, The University of Florida
Leah Reade Rosenberg, The University of Florida
Kevin Anderson, The University of California, Santa Barbara
Nancy Gallagher, The University of California, Santa Barbara
Daniel C. Kurtzer : ancien embassadeur de USA en Egypte et Israel , Frofessor a la Princeton Shool of Government , Princeton University
The American Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Morocco