CASABLANCA, Morocco (Reuters) – A Moroccan court on Tuesday handed a four-month suspended sentence and a 500 dirham fine to Moroccan journalist and rights activist Omar Radi on charges of insulting a judge on Twitter, in a case that outraged advocates of free speech in the country.
Radi, 33, tweeted last April that the judge was working under orders when he gave heavy sentences to leaders of protests that took place in northern Morocco in late 2016 and early 2017 over the country’s social and economic woes.
“I was expecting to be acquitted as I am not guilty and was only expressing my own opinion,” Radi told Reuters after the verdict. He said he will appeal the verdict.
Local rights groups have decried the increasing use of the penal code in trying free speech cases instead of the more lenient publishing code, which has had no provision for imprisonment since a reform in 2016.