RABAT (Reuters) – A Moroccan appeals court in Casablanca on Thursday confirmed the conviction of dissident journalist Soulimane Raisouni to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a man, in a case that has outraged many human rights advocates in the country.
Raisouni, an outspoken critic of public policy, the judiciary and Morocco’s human rights record, has denied the charges against him. He was arrested in May 2020 and convicted in July.
Rights activists believe authorities have in recent years increasingly used criminal charges to target political opponents and dissident reporters by applying the law unevenly.
“This is an unfair and politically-motivated verdict,” said Raisouni’s nephew and human rights activist Youssef Raisouni.
“The trial was marred by procedural flaws,” said Miloud Kandil, a lawyer for Raisouni.
The plaintiff has said attempts to cast the case as politically motivated denied him his right to seek justice and accused rights groups of victim-blaming.
The government says the judiciary is independent and that courts and the police were only implementing national laws.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Richard Pullin)