Rabat – Accused of several sexual misconducts, rape and sexual harassment among others, Ahkbar Al Yaoum’s director, Taoufik Bouachrine, appeared this Thursday, and for the first time, before the Casablanca criminal court.
Bouachrine, who was arrested on February 28, is facing charges of sexual harassment, gendered violence and rape, with the police claiming to be in possession of 50 videos backing the charges facing the prominent journalist, with the police further specifying that the said videos were recorded by Bouachrine himself.
By 9 a.m. this Thursday morning, the atmosphere in room 7 of the Casablanca criminal court was already tense, with the presence of numerous journalists (locals and international), and more than 20 lawyers defending both sides. It was however the public at large, which had “come in great numbers,” that gave Bouachrine’s first court appearance the character of a solemn ritual.
And as soon as Bouachrine appeared to face the judges and recount his version of the events, whispers of insult and judgment of character filled the room, with the already hot atmosphere visibly on the verge of getting physical, especially when Mohamed Ziane (one of Boucahrine’s lawyers) and Benjelloun Touimi (a lawyer defending some of the alleged victims) threatening each other with a fight.
The public uproar and unfriendly exchanges in room 7, Bouachrine’s lawyers made the case for their client’s innocence, claiming that the videos that the police is said to be in possession of have been “falsified,” an appeal that did not sit well with judges and the Casablanca Attorney General who, still convinced of the authenticity of the “proof,” described the appeal of Bouachrine’s lawyers as unacceptable and “illegal.”