An investigating judge has decided to prosecute a leading member of the PJD party as an accomplice to murder in the killing of a student.
Rabat – An investigating judge at the Fez Court of Appeals brought a prosecution case on Friday against Abdelali Hamieddine, the regional secretary of the PJD of the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region, for being an accomplice in the murder of Mohamed Ait Ljid Benaissa, a leftist student.
The case goes back to February 1993 when a group of masked people reportedly beat Benaissa using sharp objects as he was leaving Dar El Mehraz University in Fez.
Benaissa was then taken to a private hospital where medical staff found he had suffered a deep fracture in his head causing internal bleeding and death.
In July 2017, the Ait Ljid Benaissa family filed a complaint “about facts of the murder.”
Hamieddine’s lawyer, Abdessamad Idrissi, also a member of the PJD, immediately condemned the case on his Facebook page, calling it “political” and contrary to “principles of justice as internationally recognized.”
“There some people who seek to destroy confidence in any possibility to have an independent judiciary based on law and conscience,” Idrissi wrote.
Moroccan Minister of State for Human Rights Mustapha Ramid found the investigating judge’s decision to prosecute Hamieddine “astonishing.”
Hamieddine was previously prosecuted for the case in the 1990s. At the time, the criminal chamber acquitted Hamieddine of the accusation, which had been based on the grounds that he “contributed to a quarrel that led to the killing” of Ait Ljid, Ramid wrote on his Facebook page.
The minister, who is also a leading member of PJD party, referred to “Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which explicitly states that no one may be again subject to trial or punishment for a crime for which he has already been convicted or acquitted in a final judgment in accordance with the law and criminal procedure of each country.”
The PJD’s general secretariat held an extraordinary meeting on Monday night condemning the decision to prosecute Hamieddine, the party’s parliamentary councilor.
The decision “constitutes a “serious violation of the rules of fair trial … and threatens the stability and sovereignty of judicial decisions and affects judicial security,” the party said in a statement after its Monday meeting.
The PJD expressed its absolute solidarity with Hamieddine and announced they will form a committee led by Ramid to follow the case and provide support.