The remarks come amid tension between Morocco and the NGO due to Amnesty International’s spying allegations targeting the Moroccan government.
Rabat – Morocco’s General Delegate for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), Mohamed Salah Tamek, slammed human rights group Amnesty International (AI) for its long-standing hostile attitude towards Morocco.
The official stressed in a speech on Tuesday that defending and promoting human rights is a noble mission. However, he has questions and criticisms regarding the findings of the organization’s recent report.
The report lacked detailed evidence, sparking controversy in Morocco.
For Tamek, all members of Amnesty International “have reason to wonder about how it acquired the expertise and the labs needed to claim that a cell phone has been spied [on].”
A former political prisoner, the general delegate of Morocco’s DGAPR recalled his experience as a detainee in the late 1970s.
Tamek’s experience as a reference in Amnesty International reports
Tamek was detained for supporting the separatist Polisario Front’s claims. The Sahrawi, however, has since changed his position and supports Morocco’s sovereignty in Western Sahara.
The former detainee said that after his arrest in 1977, during his incarceration in the local prison of Meknes, he received letters from a Belgian correspondent, for whom he expressed his appreciation.
“… There was somewhere a person who was interested in my fate and I can only be grateful for it.”
Tamek served his prison sentence, finished his studies, and became a professor at the Mohammed V University in Rabat. Even given these developments, he noticed the “incomprehensible” and “unjustifiable” use of his name and of other friends’ names in Amnesty International’s reports.
The official said he notified the NGO’s members of the “incongruous fact” in writing and via communications with his correspondent. “But it was a lost cause,” he said.
He said the NGO used his name as “still being a detainee” in 1990. He published a response in Le Matin du Sahara in December of that year.
The official is reminiscing about the “anecdotal incident” for two main purposes. He is trying to explain to his friends at the NGO that he recognizes defending and promoting human rights is a “noble mission.”
Tamek is also trying to communicate to the NGO that it must “have a universal score, and for that, it should refrain from any distinction between humans, states or governments.”
The paradox of Amnesty International’s mission and methods
Tamek added that Amnesty International “has indeed played an undeniable role in this field across the world.”
However, “paradoxically, the states which were the most sensitive and the most positively reactive to its calls are not necessarily those which are safe from its biases and its unfounded allegations.”
He considers his own story, in the context of AI’s newest report on Morocco, as proof of this claim.
The tension between Morocco and AI is ongoing, with the NGO continuing to evade Morocco’s request for material evidence regarding the Radi case.
On Sunday, the Tel Aviv District Court decided to rule against an Amnesty International petition which sought to strip NSO of its export license.
The court found that the petition lacks evidence to prove that NSO’s technology was used to spy on an Amnesty activist.
The court’s decision backs Morocco’s position, rejecting the claims in the report.
The government is still asking Amnesty International to provide evidence to support its claims. The NGO, however, has only offered evasive responses to the government’s request. It provided similarly evasive responses to Morocco World News’ set of questions regarding the matter.
After following up and requesting direct, clear answers, the NGO declined MWN’s request for further comment. We reached out to their media team with another email on Monday and AI has yet to offer any response.