• France's news in English

Morocco raises stakes in torture row with France

AFP/The Local · 27 Feb 2014, 09:01

Published: 27 Feb 2014 09:01 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

The row was also enflamed by an off-the-cuff remark by Spanish movie star Javier Bardem, in which he let slip private comments by a French ambassador.

Bardem, who was promoting his new film about rights abuses in a former Spanish colony, the Western Sahara, which was annexed by Morocco in 1975. 

Alluding to the idea that Paris had ignored the human rights abuses in Morocco, mentioned a conversation he claimed to have had with France's United Nations ambassador in the US in 2011.

He claimed that the ambassador had described Morocco as, "A mistress with whom we sleep every night, even if we are not particularly in love, but whom we must defend. In other words, we turn a blind eye."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available