Omar Radi stirred controversy and wide debate recently for his part in a report with Amnesty International, in which they claim Morocco used Israeli spyware to surveil the journalist.
Rabat – The public prosecutor at the Casablanca Court of Appeal announced on June 24 that the National Brigade of Judicial Bolice (BNPJ) has summoned Moroccan journalist Omar Radi.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) quoted a statement from the prosecutor’s office clarifying that the summons is part of an official investigation. The inquiry aims to determine his alleged involvement in a case of obtaining foreign financing related to “intelligence services.”
The statement from the public prosecutor at the Casablanca court confirms a social network post from Omar Radi, in which he declared that the BNPJ summoned him.
The prosecutor said the judiciary is carrying out the investigation into this case under the supervision of the public prosecutor’s office in full legal compliance with judicial procedures.
The summons comes after a local news website published a report raising questions about Radi’s alleged efforts to advance foreign agendas in Morocco. The report claimed Radi receives MAD 25,000 ($2,500) on a monthly basis from “suspicious sources” to share confidential information about the country and members of the Moroccan diaspora.
“How much did you receive to share confidential information about Morocco and members of Moroccans residing abroad?” the author wrote in his article published on June 21.
Twenty-four hours before he was summoned by the police, Morocco World News reached out to Radi and asked about the widely circulated claims that he receives money from foreign entities. Dismissing allegations that he receives foreign money, Radi claimed that Moroccan authorities “have nothing” against him.
“Let me ask you this, if the Moroccan authorities have proof that I work for a suspicious source or ‘spying body’ then why was I not arrested so I can give my statements? The authorities have nothing against me,” he claimed.
In a previous case, a Moroccan court handed Radi in March a four-month suspended sentence and a MAD 500 ($52) fine after lashing out at a judge over sentencing activities regarding the 2016/2017 Hirak Rif movement.
Omar Radi has again made headlines after the recent release of a report from Amnesty International (AI) targeting Morocco’s government.
AI published the report on June 22 alleging cyber-spying attacks against the Moroccan journalist, by the Moroccan government, without tangible evidence.
Short of providing conclusive evidence, the report claims the journalist’s cell phone was subject to cyber attacks, alleging Morocco used a “sophisticated new technique that silently installed NSO Group’s notorious Pegasus spyware.”
AI has been in the eye of the storm in Morocco in recent years for its debatable reports on the country, which often receive official rebukes from Morocco’s government.
Following the release of the report, Morocco World News made several attempts to reach out to AI officials by phone and by email, but our requests went unanswered.
Moroccan authorities argue that the NGO uses assumptions and biased judgement in compiling its reports.
In response to its 2019 report on Morocco’s human rights approach, Morocco issued a statement in February 2020 arguing that AI continues to use “generalities and assessments that are not based on concrete data.”
The statement claims that Amnesty’s approach “proves that the methodology adopted in the preparation of the report lacks objectivity and transparency.”
In addition to its reports, AI also launched a sponsored campaign on Facebook calling on Moroccan activists to follow particular guidelines to see if their phones were subject to cyber-spy attacks. The guidelines appear in the Radi report, but the unprecedented nature of this ad itself raises serious suspicions about its motives and the agenda AI seeks to achieve in Morocco.
The post published on AI’s Facebook reads: “If you are a Moroccan human rights defender and a user of an iPhone [device], you can follow the following steps in the video to determine if there is any evidence proving the presence of [cyber attacks]” from NSO spyware.
The post also calls on activists to share the video on social networks and contact AI in case they uncover any evidence.
A similar post targeting Facebook users in the US warns followers against NSO Group, targeting the spyware’s manufacturer as the responsible party: “NSO Group’s Pegasus is smartphone spyware…This needs to stop.”