Moroccan Whistleblower Jailed for Year
Ahmed Boukhari, a former Moroccan secret agent who implicated several officials in the 1965 killing of opposition figure Mehdi Ben Barka, was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for writing bad checks.
A court here found him guilty of writing four bad checks totaling some 190,000 dirhams (17,200 dollars, 19,000 euros).
The checks were made out in the name of a company run by Boukhari that later went bankrupt.
The court also fined him 150,000 dirhams (13,800 dollars, 15,300 euros).
Immediately after sentence was passed, his lawyer, Abderrahim Jamai, announced he would appeal.
Boukhari's arrest followed a series of new revelations he has made about the 1965 kidnapping, torture and murder of Ben Barka -- a former leader of Morocco's Socialist Union of Popular Forces -- at the hands of Moroccan government officials, including the interior minister at the time, General Mohammed Oufkir.
Boukhari had argued that he had already served more than a year in prison on a 1998 conviction concerning two of the checks and should not be tried twice for the same offence, but the court rejected his arguments.
During the court proceedings, Jamai had vigorously condemned the prosecution of his client, which he claimed was riddled with irregularities and which came soon after he had made his bombshell allegations.
In June, Boukhari said that Ben Barka was kidnapped in Paris and tortured to death by Moroccan government officials.
Ben Barka's body was then shipped back to Morocco with French complicity and dissolved in a cauldron of acid, the former agent told French daily Le Monde and Morocco's Le Journal.
Earlier this month, in a meeting with judicial police in Casablanca, Boukhari accused three former colleagues of being involved in the murder.
The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) late Tuesday slammed the conviction and jail term as "scandalous,” designed to "pervert the course of justice" and to "prevent the exposure of the truth." -- CASABLANCA (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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