Rabat - The Netherlands’ Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Zeeland-West Brabant Court not to extradite suspected drug lord Said Chaou to Morocco.
The Netherlands’ Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Zeeland-West Brabant Court not to extradite suspected drug lord Said Chaou to Morocco.
The Supreme Court’s judgment could have consequences for political cooperation between Netherland and Morocco, Dutch Crimesite reported October 30.
The Dutch police arrested Chaou in June 2017 on charges of “drug trafficking, corruption, and criminal conspiracy.”
On February 22, the Dutch Zeeland-West Brabant court ruled against Chaou’s extradition to Morocco with the justification that he would not receive a “fair trial” in his home country.
However, the Dutch prosecution service did not agree with the decision and made an appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court.
According to the prosecution service, the Zeeland-West Brabant court incorrectly assumed that Chaou would not receive a fair trial. The court’s assumption was based on an argument that Morocco had “tortured Chaou’s co-defendants and treated them in an inhuman manner” to force them to give false testimony against Chaou.
On October 2, the Dutch advocate general advised the Supreme Court to support the Dutch prosecution service’s appeal. He said that the Supreme Court should consider Morocco’s extradition request, Dutch newspaper Bode reported.
However, the Supreme Court did not take his advice into consideration.
According to Crimesite, the prosecution service did not see a real risk of human rights violations in Morocco.
Co-defendants’ testimonials ‘cannot be used in the Netherlands’
Chaou’s lawyer Inez Weski said that Chaou’s co-defendants were heard in Morocco and their testimonials were used in Dutch criminal cases, reported Crimesite.
If the Dutch Supreme Court supports the assumption that Chaou’s co-defendants made their testimonials under torture, “it means the testimonials cannot be used in the Netherlands,” Weski asserted.
Weski believes that the Supreme Court’s decision “will certainly have consequences for cooperation between the judiciary and the police in the Netherlands and those in Morocco.”
After several months of discussions with Dutch authorities, Chaou’s case nearly caused a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In June 2017, Morocco decided to recall its ambassador to the Hague for consultation.
In Morocco, Chaou faces charges of criminal gang formation, corruption, and international drug trafficking.
Chaou was born in the Rif region, north of Morocco. He was an MP in the Moroccan Parliament between 2007 and 2010 before he Morocco in March 2010.