It’s a shame: when a known aggressor is nominated for RSF’s press freedom award

By Youssef Bellarbi on 12.10.2022 at 09:40

As part of the 30th edition of RSF’s 2022 Press Freedom Awards, Reporters Without Borders has nominated Omar Radi in the “independence award” category. A way to clear a common law prisoner accused of assault. But what kind of freedom are we talking about?

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While some NGOs have now been identified as actually being tools to uncover facts and put pressure on countries or parties, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is doing great work in this area when it comes to Morocco. The NGO, which is supposed to defend the freedom of the press and journalists all over the world, has certainly not found a better way than trying to sanctify a journalist who is guilty of rape.

Thus, within the framework of the 30th edition of the 2022 press freedom award of RSF, which will be given on December 12, the NGO has nominated Omar Radi in the “independence award” category, which is one of the three sequences planned at the ceremony. It will be held in Paris.

It should be recalled that after several hearings accompanied by numerous motions by the defense to postpone the trial, Omar Radi was sentenced to six years in prison on July 19, 2021 by the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Casablanca. a fine of 200,000 dirhams for rape and undermining the internal security of the state in two cases that were investigated separately but tried together.

But if Omar Radi is behind bars, it is like an ordinary prisoner of law. It was for rape that she was arrested, tried and convicted under the Moroccan Criminal Code, which provides for up to 10 years in prison for such a crime. The facts are stubborn: Omar Radi has not been convicted as a journalist, neither in general nor in the matter of rights, freedom of expression and opinion. His arrest was carried out on the basis of a complaint filed by Hafsa Boutahar on charges of rape (Articles 485 and 486 of the Criminal Code). And the law was enforced.

His highly publicized conviction was announced at the end of a fair trial in which all rights of defense were guaranteed, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Morocco is a party. the signatory.

In this way, by trying to rehabilitate Omar Radi and make him a hero of freedom of expression, RSF deepens its desire to hide the real issue – the rights of victims. At a time when combating violence against women and girls is a priority on the international agenda, the blatant violence against Hafsa Boutahar constitutes a clear violation of women’s rights.

This is the fate of the already disintegrated victim whom the NGO now wants to bury alive. Listen to Hafsa Boutahar’s testimony (as she did in front of the microphone on June 2, 2021) 360), it is to measure the whole gap between the brutality of the facts and the disastrous consequences in the life of a woman, and the will of those who rise up today to defend and crown its author, shrouded in ideology and hostility towards Morocco.

Giving this person an award is not only an insult to the deontological and ethical rules that any journalist worth his name should follow. By strengthening the impunity of this person, restoring his image, he becomes an accomplice of a serious crime. However, a journalist is not above the law. Like other citizens, he is required to at least respect the laws of his country, if not to be exemplary in terms of honest respect for human rights.

By supporting a convicted rapist, RSF acknowledges that human rights are in fact variable in geometry, and that being a journalist is enough to break the law and demean others, even if it means deliberately silencing the voice of the victim, a journalist himself. road.

To prospectively present and possibly grant the prize of independence to an aggressor is to undermine the credibility of both said prize and the institution that bestows it, and amounts to an inexcusable denial of the man, and in this case, that right. rape victims.

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