Rabat – A Moroccan court has rejected a request to release a former rights minister turned outspoken government critic who was sentenced to three years’ jail in February, his son said on Tuesday.
Mohamed Ziane, 79, was sentenced on a string of charges after he accused the kingdom’s security services of faking a video purporting to show him in a compromising situation with a married woman in a hotel room.
The video caused a scandal, but Ziane accused the head of the police and Morocco’s domestic security forces, Abdelatif Hammouchi, of faking the footage.
“We learnt from the court registry on Tuesday that the request for release has been refused,” said Ali Reda Ziane, who is both Mohamed Ziane’s son and his lawyer.
“But we stick to our argument that the procedure for summoning him before the court was not respected, which nullifies the decision to imprison him,” he told AFP.
Mohamed Ziane had told AFP in December last year that he faced a total of 11 charges, including “contempt of public officials and the judiciary”, defamation, adultery and sexual harassment.
He said the charges against him were political. He has been in prison since last month.
Ziane was a prominent government lawyer in the early 1990s and human rights minister between 1995 and 1996, before becoming a prominent critic of the security services.