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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Moroccan hunger strike journalists in 'danger': families

The two journalists launched a hunger strike earlier this month [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 April, 2021

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Omar Radi and Soulaimane Raissouni launched a hunger strike earlier this month, having been held in detention for months awaiting a verdict on their cases.

The health of two jailed Moroccan journalists on hunger strike for over two weeks demanding to be provisionally released is deteriorating rapidly, their families warned Saturday. 

Omar Radi and Soulaimane Raissouni began their hunger strike earlier this month, having been held in detention for months awaiting a verdict on their cases.

"Soulaimane's life, like that of Omar Radi, is in danger," Raissouni's wife, Khouloud Mokhtari, said. "Their health is deteriorating day by day."

She said her husband had lost 22 kilos (15 pounds) since his arrest, "including seven this week."

During a gathering of supporters in Casablanca, Radi's family expressed concern about the "serious consequences" of the hunger strike on his health.

The judiciary has repeatedly turned down appeals to provisionally release Radi, 34, who has been held for eight months, and Raissouni, 48, detained 10 months ago in a separate case.

Radi, known for his human rights work, was placed in pre-trial detention in July charged with receiving foreign funds for the purpose of harming "state security", the justice ministry said at the time.

Read also: Watchdog urges Morocco to release jailed W Sahara journalist

He is also accused separately of rape. He denies all charges. 

Raissouni, chief editor of Moroccan independent daily Akhbar Al-Yaoum, has been detained since late May, and faces charges of "indecent assault" against another man.

Raissouni's supporters allege the case is part of a campaign of defamation targeting journalists and rights activists critical of Moroccan authorities. Raissouni also denies all charges.

Prison authorities have said they "repeatedly tried to dissuade them" from their hunger strike, and have placed the pair under medical supervision.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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