Abdellatif Hammouchi

09.05.2016 ( Last modified: 07.06.2016 )
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facts

Abdellatif Hammouchi was born in 1966 in Taza, a city in the North-Eastern part of Morocco. In 1991 he graduated in law at the University of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah in Fès and joined the police as an officer in 1993. In 2007, he was appointed Head of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST) by the Moroccan King Mohammed VI and on 15 May 2015 he became Director of the General Directorate for National Security (DGSN).

As Chief of the Moroccan Intelligence, Hammouchi is under investigation on charges of torture towards French-Moroccan citizens occurred between 2008 and 2010 : Adil Lamtalsi, Zakaria Moumni and Naâma Asfari. The first two victims alleged that they suffered degrading treatments at the secret detention centre of Temara. Asfari reported that he suffered torture in the protest camp of Gdeim Izik, located in Laayoune, a city in Western Sahara.

The Temara secret detention centre is an extrajudicial detainment and secret prison facility located a few miles south of Rabat in Morocco. The facility is allegedly run by the DGST and it has been implicated in the past in human rights violations. This detention centre was initially established as a black site for the Central Intelligence Agency to hold enhanced interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Adil Lamtalsi was arrested in Tangier on 30 September 2008 and brought to Temara where he was allegedly tortured for three days. He was then transferred to another centre in Larache where he was violently beaten, humiliated and forced to sign a document in arabic, a language Lamtalsi could not understand. Based on this document and the forced confession obtained under torture, Lamtalsi was sentenced to ten years of prison for drug trafficking. He was transferred to France in May 2013.

The second victim of torture is Zakaria Moumni, a famous former kickboxer. Moumni was arrested in September 2010, blindfolded and taken to the Temara detention centre where he was beaten and raped for several days. Moumni, as he reported, was tortured for four days, during which he was deprived of food and water. He was later tried on various charges and convicted of immigration scam based on the testimony of two individuals who were never identified. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Moumni served 18 months until February 2012 when he was released after a royal pardon issued by King Mohammed VI.

The third victim is Naâma Asfari whom was arrested on 7 November 2010 and allegedly tortured for several days by the intelligence services, led by Hammouchi. He signed a forced confession obtained under torture and was afterwards sentenced by the Moroccan military tribunal on 16 February 2013 to 30 years of imprisonment.

Various complaints against Hammouchi have been lodged by the three victims and the French NGO Action by Christians For the Abolition of Torture (ACAT)  for torture before the specialized unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris Tribunal. Furthermore a complaint have been made before the UN Committee Against Torture.

legal procedure

Various complaints against Hammouchi have been lodged by the three victims and the French NGO Action by Christians For the Abolition of Torture (ACAT)  for complicity in torture and failure to help a person in danger, before the specialized unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris Tribunal. Furthermore a complaint have been made before the UN Committee Against Torture.

PROCEEDINGS IN FRANCE

After being transferred to France in May 2013, Lamtalsi and the ACAT presented a first criminal complaint for acts of torture before the investigating judge at the Paris Tribunal («Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris»), on 21 May 2013. In December 2013, a judge was appointed to the case. An investigation is ongoing.

In the morning of the 20 February 2014, the French association ACAT, Asfari and his wife, submitted a criminal complaint as a civil party before an investigating judge at the Paris Tribunal. Later on the same day, another criminal complaint was lodged before the specialized unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris Tribunal, as ACAT learnt that Hammouchi was present on the French territory and visited the Moroccan Embassy in Paris. The French police was informed of his presence and tried without success to deliver a summons from the investigating judge. The complaint was rejected a few weeks later by the specialized unit, as there was no proof that the suspect was still present on the French territory.

Morocco strongly denied the allegations against his official. Following these complaints, a serious diplomatic row between France and Morocco began. From February 2014 until February 2015, Morocco suspended its judicial cooperation with France, creating an unprecedented bilateral crisis.

INDIVIDUAL COMMUNICATION BEFORE THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE

The ACAT filed a complaint against the State of Morocco on behalf of Asfari before the UN Committee Against Torture on 4 March 2014. According to article 22 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, an individual, who claim to be victim of a violation by a State Party of the provisions of the Convention, may submit a communication to the Committee. Pursuant to the abovementioned provision, Asfari, with the ACAT’s support, presented an individual communication, since Morocco is a State Party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On 20 April 2015 the Committee Against Torture declared admissible the communication against Morocco