Former terrorism convict refutes former cellmate’s torture claims against Moroccan security services.
Rabat – An ongoing internet dispute between two former terrorism convicts continues to garner widespread attention and mixed reactions on Moroccan social networks.
In the case’s latest twist, Hassan Al Khatab, an ex salafi convict who was the Emir of a little-known Shiite cult of Ansar al-Mahdi (Helpers of the Expected One) that was dismantled in 2006, joined former terrorism convict Bouchta Charef in his public campaign to “expose the lies” of Mohamed Hajib.
Hajib was arrested in 2010 and convicted of seven years in prison over charges of training with terrorist groups. He was jailed following his deportation from Pakistan.
After leaving prison and moving to Germany, Hajib started uploading videos to YouTube, accusing Moroccan security services of torture.
His claims did not go unnoticed and caught the attention of Al Khatab, who was also detained for terrorism charges.
In a video response, Al Khatab argued that whoever has a smartphone inside his cell can not in any way be subject to torture.
“How is it possible for someone who is tortured to have a phone and be able to record videos and take pictures from inside the prison?” Al Khatab asked.
For the Emir of the Ansar al-Mahdi community, Hajib’s torture claims are “only falsehood.”
Al Khatab, who was in the same block as Hajib, challenged him to prove the torture claims and accused him of pushing agendas and receiving foreign financing to smear Morocco.
“We are not waiting for any party to pay us to stab our country in the back. You did not only betray an institution but 40 million Moroccans,” he said.
Al Khatab then praised Morocco’s notable progress in many fields, especially highlighting that the country’s achievements annoy many in the region. He suggested that Morocco’s regional foes reach out to people like Hajib to spread lies and give a distorted image of the country.
He went on to evoke an instance where Hajib wanted to self-mutilate by using the “Siwak” to wound his back. He asked Al Khatab and his friends to testify for him, but they refused to do so, according to Al Khatab.
Torture allegations against Morocco have been surfacing every now and then with activists, former convicts, and NGOs accusing Moroccan security services of torturing a certain category inmates.
But Moroccan public institutions have strenuously declined the claims, declaring them as unfounded and politically motivated.
Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts
Morocco is a regional and global leader in the fields of counterterrorism and de-radicalization. The North African country enjoys many counter-terrorism partnerships with important global actors, such as the United States and the European Union.
Morocco has dismantled 2,009 terrorism cells since 2002 as part of its counterterrorism approach, according to data from the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ).
As well as arresting 3,535 people for their alleged involvement in terror activities, Moroccan intelligence and security services have in recent years aborted around 500 potentially “bloody” terrorism plots, Mohamed Nifaoui revealed.