The Kuwaiti suspect is still in his home country after fleeing Morocco in January.
Rabat – The criminal chamber at the Marrakech Court of Appeal has postponed for the eighth time the hearing session of alleged Kuwaiti pedophile Mohamed Samran Al-Azmi, scheduled for August 18.
The court set the new hearing date for September 29, as the 24-year-old suspect is still in Kuwait and Kuwaiti authorities did not yet extradite him to Morocco.
The pedophilia case dates back to December 2019 when Moroccan police arrested the suspect for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl in Marrakech.
The rape incident allegedly occurred in July 2019 when the victim disappeared for several days before getting back to her home.
According to the child’s testimony, the Kuwaiti man violently raped her in an apartment in Marrakech and paid her MAD 3,600 ($393). The victim told her parents that the suspect hid her in the trunk of his car when entering the apartment building.
After the suspect’s arrest, the Court of First Instance in Marrakech granted the alleged Kuwaiti pedophile a provisional release in January 2020 for a fine of MAD 30,000 ($3,275). After his release, Al-Azmi fled Morocco, causing an outrage among Moroccans.
Reaction of NGOs
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) was at the head of NGOs that condemned the provisional release of the suspect, condemning security services for not confiscating his passport.
“Granting the man a temporary release and not confiscating his passport gives him the opportunity to escape Morocco and punishment,” AMDH wrote in a statement.
“We … consider sexual exploitation of children and their rape flagrant violations of children’s rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” the NGO added.
After the suspect fled Morocco, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Marrakech appealed the court’s decision to grant provisional release to the alleged Kuwaiti pedophile. In response, the Court of First Instance justified its move with the victim’s mother’s decision to withdraw the complaint.
The appeal decision, however, came too late. According to AMDH member Omar Arbib, the court regretted its decision.
Arbib also claimed that the Kuwaiti embassy in Morocco helped the suspect leave Morocco.
“The Kuwaiti embassy in Morocco told us that the [victim’s] parents forgave the man in exchange for money,” Arbib told Morocco World News.
“The Kuwaiti ambassador told me that the Kuwaiti national was subject to blackmail for five months from the girl’s family,” he added.
Kuwaiti embassy’s statements
The Kuwaiti ambassador to Morocco, Abdellatif Ali Al-Yahia, denied the accusations, saying the embassy did not intervene in the case. However, he confirmed that the suspect was subject to “abnormal blackmail” in a statement to the press, without providing further details.
“The man was in custody for 54 days and we did not intervene. We trust Morocco’s judiciary. If we really intervened, we would have done that since the first day of his arrest,” Al-Yahia claimed.
The Kuwaiti diplomat assured Moroccans that his country cannot help the suspect flee justice.
“We cannot help him run. We have an Interpol agreement with Morocco,” he said.
Al-Yahia expressed his country’s readiness to extradite the suspect. However, to this date, the alleged Kuwaiti pedophile remains free in his home country.
Eight months after the suspect fled Morocco, it remains to be seen whether the country will pressure Kuwait to extradite the suspect or if the judiciary case will be forgotten.
If he appears in a Moroccan court, the suspect could be facing between 10 and 20 years in prison, according to the local penal code.