Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid defended Morocco’s judiciary after he received criticism for his position on the re-prosecution of MP Abdelali Hamieddine.
Rabat – Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid has responded to the criticism he received for saying he was “staggered” that renewed charges were brought against a member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Abdelali Hamieddine. Hamieddine is being re-prosecuted as an accomplice in the 1993 murder of Mohamed Ait Ljid Benaissa, a leftist student.
The case dates back to February 1993 when a group of masked people beat Benaissa with sharp objects as he was leaving Dar El Mehraz University in Fez.
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, according to Ramid.
On Wednesday, Ramid told reporters at a seminar in a university in Tangier that the Moroccan “judiciary is independent.”
He added that judges are “required to exercise their independence in practice.”
Three lawyers filed a complaint on December 20, 2018, against Ramid.
The complaint followed Ramid’s condemnation of the re-prosecution of Hamieddine.
The minister took to his Facebook after a judge ordered the prosecution of Hamidine, citing “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.”
In December, the Fez Court of Appeals postponed Hamieddine’s trial to February 12, 2019.
The reason given was to allow for the preparation of all documents for the high-profile trial.