Moroccan journalist on trial over a tweet, denies wrongdoing

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan journalist and activist Omar Radi defended himself Thursday against charges of insulting a judge in a tweet that criticized his heavy sentencing of anti-government protesters.

Radi, who has been charged for slamming the decision to hand maximum prison sentences to leaders of demonstrations in the poverty-stricken northern Rif region, told a Casablanca court packed full with activists and journalists that he refused to “remain silent in the face of oppression and cruelty,”

The public prosecutor said Radi’s tweet was offensive towards the judge, Lahcen Talfi, and called for the activist to be punished.

“If the court deems that I am guilty, then I’ll walk towards my destiny with my head high,” Radi said.

Radi was arrested in Casablanca on December 26 and released on bail five days later.

Radi’s lawyer Miloud Kandil told The Associated Press that the verdict will be announced on March 12.

Civil rights campaigners say that Radi’s arrest, along with those of others, show how authorities are clamping down on those using social media to relay their opposition to economic and social problems.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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