Since the publishing of the report, Moroccan officials have revealed a series of contradictions and fallacies within the document.
Rabat – Amnesty International did not send a copy of its June 22 report to the Moroccan government before the document was made public, said the Secretary General of the Moroccan Ministry of State for Human Rights, Abdelkarim Boujradi.
The report, shared with 17 international news outlets, alleges that Moroccan security services spied on journalist Omar Radi for over a year.
In a meeting with the Justice, Legislation, and Human Rights Committee at the House of Representatives on July 15, Boujradi explained in detail the correspondence between the Moroccan government and Amnesty International following the publishing of the report.
As opposed to the statements of Amnesty International’ executive director in Morocco, the organization did not send a copy of its report, Boujradi stressed.
“They did not send a report. They sent a two-page letter, containing questions to the Head of Government,” he said.
On June 26, officials from the Ministry of State for Human Rights met with representatives from Amnesty International’s Moroccan branch, including its executive director.
The meeting followed a request the ministry sent on June 25. The ministry did not “summon” the organization’s executive director, Boujradi highlighted.
“Our relationship with civil society is based on respect and appreciation. We do not summon civil society organizations. On June 25, I called the executive director and asked if we could arrange a meeting on the following day, to which he agreed,” the official recalled.
During the meeting, Moroccan officials expressed their surprise at the organization’s claims of sending the report to the public authorities.
Amnesty International’s executive director claimed that his organization sent the report to the Moroccan head of government’s office via fax. He said that Amnesty International called the office to verify the fax number before sending the document.
However, the director admitted that the organization did not call again to make sure that the fax was well received, Boujradi explained.
The Amnesty International executive failed to mention during the meeting that his organization sent emails to five Moroccan officials at the Ministry of State for Human Rights, the official highlighted.
When asked about the reasons for not contacting the ministry of state, one of Amnesty International’s representatives replied, claiming that they do not have emails nor telephone numbers of officials at the ministry.
The discussion during the June 26 meeting contradicts Amnesty International’s July 3 letter, Boujradi added. The letter, sent to Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, claims the organization sent emails regarding the report to five executives at the Ministry of State for Human Rights.
“We were surprised [by the July 3 letter] because it is impossible that such an important report goes unnoticed by five officials,” Boujradi said.
Following the letter, the ministry of state began an investigation to verify if the officials did receive an email.
“We checked the email inboxes of the five officials, but we did not find any emails,” the secretary general recalled.
After checking the ministry of state’s antivirus system, the officials found that an email arrived from the head of the cybersecurity unit at Amnesty International.
However, the antivirus system automatically put the email into quarantine, because “when we put this person’s name on Google, it appeared that he was a hacker,” Boujradi explained.
The email “did not even go to the spam folder, it went directly into quarantine,” he continued.
According to the official, the ministry has proof that the email was sent on 11:06 a.m. on June 9, and that it was instantly put into quarantine.
“The antivirus system investigated the sender’s email address and concluded that the email may contain dangerous content,” Boujradi said.
As for the email’s content, the secretary general stressed that it did not include the report, as Amnesty International claims, but only a letter addressed to the head of government.
Lack of professionalism
The Moroccan government’s issue with Amnesty International’s report and the organization’s claims of sharing it before publishing is not only about the content, but also the form, Boujradi stressed.
“Why did Amnesty International send the email to officials on the third rank of the ministry’s hierarchy?” he asked.
According to Boujradi, the organization’s claims of sending the report to the head of government and then sending the emails to “lower rank” officials is “absurd.”
Due to the sensitivity of the report, Amnesty International had to respect hierarchy, the Moroccan official stressed: “This is the essence of our problem with amnesty, in terms of professionalism.”
The contradictions in statements and lack of evidence to support the report “indicate that there are ulterior motives,” Boujradi concluded.
Morocco World News has contacted Amnesty International several times for comment. An Amnesty media manager for the MENA responded to our first email after multiple requests with answers to three of our five questions. He failed to provide any answer to our question on the organization’s views of the Moroccan government’s reactions.