By Lina Mernissi
By Lina Mernissi
Rabat – Following the nomination of Abdellatif Hammouchi on May 15, 2015 as the Moroccan General Director of National Security, several articles have been published commenting on his vision and strategy for his position.
But the recently nominated General Director has also been in the press in a less flattering light: numerous French journals have written articles linking Hammouchi to torture allegations, without any concrete evidence.
This is not only detrimental to the long-standing bond between the two countries, but also raises the question of integrity in French journalism.
Journalism is founded on the notions of promoting public discussion, publishing diverse opinions, and establishing a comprehensive analysis of events. However, in doing so it is a journalist’s responsibility to acquire evidence and ensure that the information published is credible—not fueled by rumors and speculation, as is the recent case of one of France’s top news magazines.
On May 21, 2015, in an article titled “Our Friend the King’s Spy (Notre ami l’espion du Roi)” in the French magazine L’Obs, a journalist claimed that Abdellatif Hammouchi was responsible for acts of torture against three French-Moroccan citizens: Adil Lamtalsi, Mostafa Naim, and Zakari Moumni.
The journalist went on to fabricate a recent visit by the General Director to France. According to this article, during Mr. Hammouchi’s visit to Paris, France, he was served a subpoena to appear in front of a French juge d’instruction (judge of inquiry responsible for examining evidence prior to a criminal trial), while he was at the residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to France. The article reported that the subpoena was not served because Hammouchi fled the country and returned to Morocco.
As elaborate as these narratives might sound, both the allegations of torture and the attempted actions of the French national police lack supporting evidence.
This false reporting can be seen as another attempt by French journalists to affront Moroccan authorities by engaging in defamation, especially when facts are neglected within their analysis.
The following sections will highlight the information presented by Mr. Hammouchi’s defense attorneys, Ralph Boussier and Yves Repiquet, in response to the article published by L’Obs and the allegations by the abovementioned French-Moroccan citizens. These facts relating to the plaintiffs’ criminal records, which the L’Obs article ignored, not only reiterate that there is a lack of impartiality on the part of the L’Obs journalist, but also that the allegations themselves were made by criminals.
Adil Lamtalsi’s Criminal Record
Adil Lamtalsi has been repeatedly arrested for dealing drugs, as well as for other crimes in several countries. Specifically, Mr. Lamtalsi, a recidivist criminal, was first arrested when he was 18 years old for assault and battery in Tours, France. In 2008, he was arrested again, but this time in Spain on charges of drug smuggling(475 kg of hashish) between Spain and France. This led to his recent arrest in Tangier, Morocco, following an attempted plan to smuggle 1601 kg of hashish via helicopter.
Following his arrest, he was presented to the proper judicial authorities and later sentenced to 10 years of prison: 5 years in a Moroccan prison in Salé, and 5 years in a French prison, following a request of extradition.
Mostafa Naim’s Criminal Record
Mostafa Naim is also is a recidivist drug-dealer in France and Morocco. He served a 22-month sentence in Lyon, France for theft, as well as for possession and distribution of hashish. Later on, the National Judiciary Police Brigade (BNPJ) arrested him in Mohammedia, Morocco alongside his accomplice Mohamed Hamsani, his uncle, for possession of 9.45 kg of hashish.
Zakaria Moumni’s Criminal Record
Zakaria Moumni has not only repeatedly slandered and defamed Morocco’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Interior, but was also later arrested for fraud. Zakaria Moumni won a Thai-boxing championship medal in a competition organized by the World Kick-boxing Association (WKA) in 1999.
This medal does not define him as a professional world champion due to his lack of official certification. His attitude also rejects sportsmanship, a key criteria for athletic integrity.
Nevertheless, his continued attempt to convince the public of the contrary and obtain a job as a national trainer, despite his inability to meet the national required criteria set by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, only set the stage for his subsequent criminal offense.
In 2010, Zakaria Moumni was arrested following two individual complaints filed by two Moroccan citizens. The plaintiffs claimed that Moumni promised them job contracts in France for the total sum of 28,000 MAD, and then received the money fraudulently without providing them the promised jobs.
Once arrested and held in custody for 72 hours, as illustrated in the Rabat Police Prefecture custody register, Moumni admitted to the aforementioned allegations. His testimony was then presented to the proper judicial authorities, along with other evidence against him, and he was later sentenced to prison.
After reviewing these cases and the facts neglected by the L’Obs journalist in the analysis and presentation of the article, it is only fair to assume that there is a hidden agenda.
My sole message is that there is another side to the story that is being withheld from the general public.
This article’s mission is simply to promote discussion and ensure that the general public has all the facts prior to establishing a comprehensive analysis of events.
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