Rabat slams statement of prominent jailed journalist’s lawyer

Judicial source says lawyer Dickson’s attempt to link Bouachrine’s judicial follow-up with some of his journalistic writings is merely claim aimed at covering the criminal acts committed against at least 15 victims.

CASABLANCA - Moroccan authorities criticised an urgent statement of the British human rights lawyer of prominent journalist Tawfiq Bouachrine which was addressed to the United Nations calling for an end to his arbitrary detention.

A judicial source said Rodney Dickson’s statement was surprising because it was “full of lies and exaggerations” which seek to “offend achievements and positive gains achieved by Morocco in the field of human rights.”

 “These lies harm both Dickson’s status as a lawyer and his client Tawfiq Bouachrine as a Moroccan citizen who was supposed to be proud of his country’s national institutions and respect national justice, especially in the first year of the judiciary’s independence from the legislative and executive branches,” said the source.

Bouachrine was arrested last February during a police raid on his newspaper Akhbar al-Yaoum, in Casablanca.

The journalist, known for editorials critical of authorities and his support for the ruling Islamist party of Justice and Development in the North African country, is being tried on charges of rape, human trafficking, exploiting and taking advantage of unfortunate people, using power for sexual exploitation, blackmailing, sexual assault, inciting people to prostitute including a pregnant woman, and recording and filming them.

The source illustrated several fallacies in Dickson’s statement.

It said that Bouachrine’s arrest and his referral to trial for the charges levelled against him by the victims, most of whom are institutional workers and under his authority, took place on a judicial order taken in accordance with the statutory regulations stipulated by law and in full respect of international human rights.

The same source insisted that Bouachrine’s judicial follow-up had nothing to do with the nature of his journalistic work and the freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by law.  

“The attempt to link his follow-up with some of his journalistic writings is merely a claim aimed at covering the criminal acts committed against at least 15 victims,” it said.

Dickson said in his statement that the judges lacked impartiality.

“How can a British lawyer who is not in charge of the case or attend its hearings claim that the judges of the court lack independence and impartiality?” asked the source.

The British lawyer also claimed that Moroccan authorities fabricated evidence of Bouachrine’s alleged crimes, an accusation categorically denied by the same source.