Mohamed Ziane, 79, a senior civil servant, had become critical of the authorities, in particular the intelligence services. Founder of the Moroccan Liberal Party, he is being prosecuted on eleven counts, including those of“contempt of public officials and justice”, “insult against a body corporate”, “defamation”, “adultery” or “sexual harassment”.
The former president of Rabat accused the security services in November 2020 of having “rigged” a video to present in a compromising way an interview between him and a married client in a hotel room. The former minister denounced a “political trial”.
The video was broadcast by a Moroccan web-tv, which caused a stir on social networks. At the time, the lawyer accused the boss of the police and internal intelligence, Abdelatif Hammouchi, of being responsible for the “tricking” images.
In response to these accusations, the Ministry of the Interior filed a complaint in January 2021 “based on concrete material facts, through which state institutions have been offended through the dissemination of false accusations and allegations, sanctioned by the Penal Code”according to an official statement.
“The Rabat court of first instance sentenced Mr. Ziane to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (470 euros)”his lawyer Amal Khalfi told AFP.
However, the former minister will not be imprisoned “since he appeared free and will appeal”said Master Khalfi.
“We do not yet have the details of the verdict. We do not know what the charges are” against him, she added.
Mohamed Ziane was Minister of Human Rights between 1995 and 1996.
Close to circles of power, he was also the government’s lawyer in the 1990s. In recent years, he has become famous for his outspokenness towards the Moroccan security apparatus.