Morocco freezes judicial accords with France over 'torture' row

26th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

Morocco announced Wednesday that it was suspending all judicial cooperation with France following a diplomatic row over lawsuits filed in Paris accusing the kingdom's intelligence chief of "complicity in torture."

"All agreements on judicial cooperation between the two countries have been suspended... to eliminate the distortions that have affected them," the justice ministry said in a statement.

It has also recalled the Moroccan judge responsible for liaising with France on the agreements.

Morocco has strong commercial and cultural ties with its former colonial ruler.

But the kingdom reacted furiously to the announcement last Thursday of two civil lawsuits filed by an NGO in Paris against Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of its domestic intelligence agency, over his alleged role in the torture of a Sahrawi independence activist jailed for 30 years in 2013.

Moroccan officials have expressed outrage at the decision to send seven French policeman to the ambassador's residence to inform Hammouchi, who was in Paris accompanying the interior minister on a visit, of a summons issued by the investigating judge.

President Francois Hollande called Morocco's King Mohammed VI to reassure him of France's "constant friendship," and "dispel misunderstandings."

But the gesture failed to prevent thousands of protesters from demonstrating outside the French embassy on Tuesday.

© 2014 AFP

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