A Casablanca court on Monday convicted prominent journalist and activist Omar Radi on charges of espionage and sexual assault and sentenced him to six years in prison.
His colleague, Imad Stitou, was convicted of “participation in rape” and sentenced to 12 months in prison, with six months suspended.
Radi, an investigative journalist jailed since his arrest in July 2020, has denied any wrongdoing. Rights groups say the charges against Radi were politically motivated, and his case has raised concerns about media freedoms in Morocco.
Radi was the subject of an Amnesty International report in June 2020 that said Moroccan authorities had unlawfully spied on the journalist through his phone by using sophisticated surveillance software. The Moroccan government disputed the claim.
Radi was among 189 journalists around the world identified as being on a list of allegedly targeted clients of Israeli-based NSO Group, a hacker-for-hire using military-grade malware for potential spying on journalists, human rights activists, and political dissidents, a global media consortium reported this week.
The Casablanca court-ordered Radi and Stitou to pay the equivalent of more than $22,300 to the victim of the alleged sexual assault.