Hafsa Boutahar said she would never have spoken about the incident if Omar Radi did not decide to open up about his “side of the story.”
Aug 3, 2020
Rabat – Hafsa Boutahar, the alleged rape victim of Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, has unveiled further details about her case.
In a recent interview with Atlas Info, Boutahar responded to Omar Radi’s statements after the journalist claimed he had a “consensual [sexual] relationship” with her.
Boutahar filed a complaint against Omar Radi, accusing him of “violent rape.” An investigating judge decided to put Radi in jail on July 29 for alleged “violent rape and for receiving [funds] from a foreign agent.”
She claimed she would have never spoken about her case if Radi did not publicize the case and allege that what he had with her was a “consensual relationship.”
Boutaha categorically rejects the claims. Her lawyer considers Radi’s publication a “serious breach of investigative secrecy,” she said. “I cannot stand idly by and let him say whatever he wants.”
She said that Radi’s claims shocked her.
“I decided to only speak once so that people know the truth. The public should know that I thought a lot before filing a complaint, I knew it would be difficult but my parents are supportive and this is most important to me.”
Boutahar, who is a colleague of Radi at new outlet Le Desk, said that her father felt helpless because he could not protect his daughter.
“Omar Radi has support,” she said.
Boutahar is responsible for public relations and advertising at Le Desk.
Bouhatar describes the circumstances of the alleged attack
She said she received an offer to stay at her bosses’ house during the confinement period as she lives in Rabat.
“I was hosted by my bosses Ali Amar and his wife Fatema Zahra Qadri to avoid me going back and forth between the capital and Casablanca,” she said.
Boutahar said her bosses made a room for her upstairs, where she lived from June 16 until July 26.
She said the basement of their house was turned into an office for the Le Desk team.
“It was convenient for everyone.”
Boutahar claimed that Radi raped her on July 12.
She said that a I.S., a journalist at Le Desk, knew about the incident.
Boutahar said that before Radi allegedly raped her, she sat down for dinner with Radi, I.S., and members of the host family.
“Around midnight, Ali Amar, Omar Radi, and I.S. went downstairs to work in the basement where the offices were located.”
Boutahar said she was on a call with her fiance, who lives in San Francisco.
She said the call stopped for a while, until 1:47 a.m., when they communicated again through a video call.
Boutahar said she had to sleep in the home library’s lounge that night.
“There were three separate corners in a large open space,” Boutahar said, saying that Radi took the corner with a leather sofa that converts into bed.
I.S. slept in the television lounge area.
‘I did not doubt my colleagues’
“I had no reason not to feel safe being with friends. We were colleagues, the house was full, with children, domestic workers, relatives. Why should I be afraid of Omar Radi?” Boutahar argued.
She said that she had a “friendly relationship” with Omar that she did not have with other colleagues.
Boutahar said she always supported the journalist “without slightest hesitation.”
She said that she defended him after Amnesty International issued its report, claiming Morocco’s government uses NSO spyware technology to monitor the journalist.
“I defended him and sided with him when he was summoned by the BNPJ.”
The police questioned Radi, who is now in jail, for his alleged involvement in receiving funds from a foreign agent.
Boutahar alleges inappropriate gestures leading up to the rape
Boutahar claimed Omar Radi made “inappropriate gestures” towards her before the alleged rape incident.
She said that on July 7, Radi came to her bosses’ house with I.S.
“We all had dinner and spent the evening together and we all supported and encouraged him. But during the evening, he made inappropriate gestures towards me.”
She said she was “very uncomfortable” and that the journalist was drinking.
Boutahar blamed the impropriety on alcohol and his personal issues.
The Le Desk employee said she would never betray her commitment to her fiance, the man she loves, in response to theories of a consensual relationship that Omar Radi’s supporters shared after his arrest for the rape charge.
‘I am afraid’
“I had no reason to be suspicious or believe that one could jump on me and the other could cowardly cover him,” Boutahar said.
When she asked why she waited ten days before she filed a complaint, Boutahar said that if Radi did not go behind bars “laughing at what he had done to me, maybe I would have killed myself like most people who get raped.”
She said she was afraid of scandal, arguing that Moroccan society does not make it is not easy to go to court for such crimes.
“I was terribly afraid of being judged first by my relatives, my fiance, my friends, and my work relations,” said Boutahr.
Omar Radi’s response
Omar Radi continues to deny all accusations against him, including the charges stipulating his involvement with a foreign agent.
Radi told Morocco World News in late June, prior to his arrest in late July, that the government has nothing against him.
He claimed that the government is targeting him with NSO technology, but he does not know why.
On rape charges, Radi told the public he is innocent, arguing that his relationship with Boutahar was “consensual.”
“I and the complainant were in complete agreement regarding this relationship.”
Radi claimed he has more information that he will reveal to the public soon, without specifying the nature of this information.