Morocco: a famous lawyer, former Minister of Human Rights, arrested and imprisoned

L’Moroccan opponent Mohamed Ziane, former president of Rabat and Minister of Human Rights between 1995 and 1996, was arrested and imprisoned on Monday evening after being sentenced on appeal to three years in prison, we learned from judicial source and from his son.

“He was transferred to El Arjat prison (near Rabat). He was not even legally notified (of his sentence) and he never appeared,” Ali Reda told AFP. Ziane, a lawyer who defends her father.

“He was condemned (by the Court of Appeal of Rabat) for all possible and imaginable charges, it is an aberration that I have never seen”, protested the son of the opponent.

In a press release, the prosecution then confirmed that “the competent judicial police services, and on the instructions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, arrested the person concerned and imprisoned him in execution of the provisions of the appeal decision”.

Before his arrest, Mohamed Ziane told AFP on Monday “never to have received a summons to appear before the Court of Appeal”, assuring “that he is judged because of his opinions”.

His son denounced “a gear against my father since he took a position in favor of the + Hirak + of the Rif”, a powerful social movement which agitated this Berber mountainous region of northern Morocco in 2016-2017.

Famous lawyer in Morocco, Mohamed Ziane, 79, also defended Taoufik Bouachrine, an opposition press boss jailed since 2018 after serving 15 years in prison for “sexual assaults” against eight women, charges he has always denied by denouncing “a political trial”.

Mr. Ziane was prosecuted pursuant to a complaint from the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, for eleven counts, including those of “contempt of public officials and justice”, “insult against a constituted body”, “defamation”, “adultery” or “sexual harassment”.

“Fake” video

He was sentenced on February 23 to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (470 euros) but was released.

In a press release, the Moroccan Support Committee for prisoners of conscience said it was “extremely shocked” by the arrest of Mr. Ziane.

“His appeal trial was held in a single hearing, without giving President Ziane the opportunity to defend himself. The court did not hear him or his defense”, criticized this group of human rights defenders. in Morocco.

“He was arrested by more than twenty plainclothes police who burst into his office (…), without presenting the slightest judicial decision, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the code of criminal procedure, the Constitution and international conventions,” lamented the NGO.

Founder of the Moroccan Liberal Party (PML) and senior civil servant, Mr. Ziane made himself known for his statements critical of the authorities, in particular the Moroccan intelligence services.

The former president of Rabat accused the security services in November 2020 of having “rigged” a video to present in a compromising way an interview between him and a married client in a hotel room.

The video was broadcast by a Moroccan web-tv, which caused a stir on social networks.

At the time, Mr. Ziane accused the boss of the police and internal intelligence, Abdelatif Hammouchi, of being responsible for the “tampering” of the images.

Mohamed Ziane was Minister of Human Rights between 1995 and 1996. Close to circles of power, he was also the government’s lawyer in the 1990s. In recent years, he has become famous for his outspokenness towards the Moroccan security apparatus.

22/11/2022 01:39:55 – Rabat (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

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