Press Release Regarding the Publication of a HRW document entitled “Morocco: Torture Suspicions Mar Mass Trial Verdicts”

Moroccan authorities have taken knowledge of Human Right Watch organization (HRW)’s publication, dated November 30th, 2018, six months after the verdict rendered by the Court of the First Instance of Casablanca (June 26th, 2018) entitled “Morocco: Torture Suspicions Mar Mass Trial Verdicts”, concerning Al Hoceima events. 
The Statement made by HRW Middle East and North Africa communications and advocacy director that “the appeals court needs to examine and discard any tainted confessions and ensure that no one is convicted except for real crimes”, can only be considered as a flagrant interference in the trial’s proceedings in its appeal stage, by an organization that keeps calling for the respect of the judiciary’s independence.  
Moroccan authorities insist, in this regard, for the judiciary’s independence pursuant to the provisions of the article 107 of the 2011 Constitution. It is enshrined in the High Council of Judicial Power’s organic law and the organic law on the magistrates’ statute. The abovementioned document assesses a trail in its appeal stage, bearing in mind that the trial’s observation ethics requires waiting for the end of the judicial proceedings.
Moroccan authorities also notice the selective nature of HRW document. Indeed the organization drew its conclusion based only on 17 out of 86 hearings of trial and relied on documents circulated by the press regarding ill-treatment allegations, invoking the opinions of certain elements of the defense and excluding the civil party.    
This HRW document comprises plenty of wrong information, especially the number of persons benefitting from royal pardon, which reached 184 and not 116 as reported by the organization. The rendered judgments were based on various means of proof and not simply confessions included in the judicial police minutes’ files. The criminal chamber of the Court of Appeal, which examines the case anew, will have the possibility to reassess the proofs and arguments according to legal provisions and the suspects will have the possibility to present their motions and requests directly via their lawyers.
Moroccan authorities regret the publication of such a document undermining the Kingdom’s judicial sovereignty while the trial is still in process.


 

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