Rabat - The American human rights body recently published a biased report laden with falsehoods regarding the trial of French citizens accused of terrorism by the Moroccan judiciary in two separate cases, accusing authorities of using "dubious ways to obtain confessions."
Rabat – The American human rights body recently published a biased report laden with falsehoods regarding the trial of French citizens accused of terrorism by the Moroccan judiciary in two separate cases, accusing authorities of using “dubious ways to obtain confessions.”
The NGO published a report in November, titled “Morocco: Condemnations Based on Tainted Confessions,” in which the NGO decried the “biased judgment” against French detainees Gallay Thomas Georges and Broustail Manuel Pierre Angelo, arguing that they were condemned for committing terrorist acts based on “confessions” written in Arabic, which they couldn’t read, without their lawyers present.
The report claimed that the cases of these two foreigners “illustrate a pattern of Moroccan courts of relying on police statements as proof of guilt.” The Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, claimed, “In Morocco, even if the police prevent you from reading your ‘confession’ or type it in a language you don’t understand – once you sign, you’re basically on an express train to prison.”
HRW invokes its 2013 report to accuse Moroccan justice of a systematic tendency to indiscriminately accept confessions refuted by the accused, which claimed “to have stated in detail several cases where the accused had declared that the police tortured them, forced them or even deceived them to sign depositions without reading them.”
In a sly and suspicious effort to undermine the Moroccan justice system, the report concludes with a joint exhortation of HRW, Amnesty International and The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), by urging Moroccan authorities to amend domestic legislation in accordance with international law and standards to ensure that the right to a fair trial is adequately protected and, in particular, that a detained person has the right to “prompt access to a lawyer and to ensure that no one is subjected to improper pressure or deceit to sign a statement, including in a language the person cannot read.”
However, the facts and the evidence clearly show that the allegations in the report were false and unfounded, and that the French defendants were judged based on irrefutable evidence.
The Case of Broustail Manuel Pierre Angelo:
French citizen and convert to Islam Broustail Manuel Pierre Angelo entered Morocco on June 3, 2016 via the Fes-Saiss Airport. Traveling from Nantes, Angelo was arrested in possession of weapons, including a sword, knives, cutlasses, military uniforms, a hood and a baton, and other suspicious items, including a plastic spring rifle, a gas gun and a small gas cylinder.
The jihadist ambitions of the detainee were reinforced by the extremist nature of his electronic equipment, which contained a trace of extremist literature, as well as descriptive texts of different types of weapons and explosives published online by so-called “Islamic state” media.
The accused had previously undergone specialized training in telecommunications and explosives with the French army and aimed to bring his expertise to fight alongside jihadists in Afghanistan against the forces of the coalition, especially American and French forces.
In a report signed by Angelo, a French translation of the original Arabic document, he admitted to having fed several terrorist projects in France, including a plan to assassinate the French Interior Minister.
Angelo signed the aforementioned report and admitted his intention to carry out several terrorist acts as a “lone wolf” in France. He also acknowledged harboring feelings of malice and hatred toward the French army, which led him to plan the assassination of several army officers, including the Lieutenant Colonel, with whom Angelo went on a mission in Ivory Coast, as part of their participation in the International Coalition Against Terrorism. He also admitted to planning an attack on security patrols as part of a plan dubbed “Hadar.”
Additionally, Broustail Manuel Pierre Angelo had expressed his support of and blessing for the terrorist attack which targeted the headquarters of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Contrary to HRW’s claims, the Moroccan court respected all procedures prescribed by law in various stages of litigation before pronouncing its sentence of four years in prison on October 20. The court also informed the French Embassy in Morocco in a timely manner and notified the accused of his rights, including the right to appoint a lawyer for his defense.
The Case of Gallay Thomas Georges:
Another French citizen who converted to Islam, Gallay Thomas Georges was arrested on February 18, 2016 by the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation, as part of a campaign to dismantle a jihadist cell loyal to the Islamic State that was planning to carry out terrorist acts in Morocco.
The cell was led by Maouelainin Lesser, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Eight other members of the cell were active in the cities of Meknes, Sidi Kacem and Essaouira.
The investigation revealed that the authorities, during the search of the defendant’s residence in Essaouira, seized electronic equipment containing photographic evidence showing his loyalty to the Islamic State, including videos showing methods of executions carried out by the Islamic State and so-called victories achieved by fighters of the terrorist organization.
The investigation also revealed that Georges had been in contact with the leader of the dismantled terrorist cell since 2014, who was informing him about the evolution of the situation of fighting in Syria and Iraq. The accused also expressed sympathy for the terrorist organization and feelings of hatred toward Morocco’s national institutions he claimed to be responsible for spreading corruption in the country.
Gallay Thomas Georges stated during his hearing that he authorized the leader of the terrorist network to use his computer equipment to keep up with current events and military gains of the Islamic State circulated in propaganda outlets on the Internet. He added that he hosted enlistment meetings in his home led by the leader of the terrorist organization, during which the latter referred to the need to respond to the military offenses carried out by the coalition forces against the Islamic State through terrorist attacks on foreign tourists during their visits to Morocco.
At the accused’s hiding place, authorities discovered a significant quantity of weapons, ammunition and chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives and other weapons that would seriously damage any victims targeted.
The French Embassy in Morocco was notified on February 18, 2016 of the arrest of the accused and his placement under custody. The accused was also notified of his right to appoint a lawyer and he received a visit on February 26 by lawyer Abderrahim Jamai.
Gallay Thomas Georges and others were presented to the court on March 1 by the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation and placed under warrant of detention in the prison of Sale. The French citizen was sentenced on July 14 to 6 years in prison and his evacuation from the kingdom.
The timing of the publication of the report of Human Rights Watch conveniently coincides with the appearance of Gallay Thomas George and those accused with him before the Court of Appeal, a fact which seems to confirm the premeditated intentions of this NGO to influence the judiciary in this matter.
One can only express his dismay at the double standards used by the US organization. One can legitimately wonder whether HRW would have made such claims if would-be terrorists of Arab origin were arrested and accused of plotting to commit terrorist acts in a Western country.
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