Rabat suspends judicial ties with France
Morocco's torture record was officially condemned by the U.N. in 2012 (Fadel Senna/AFP)
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Morocco has decided to suspend its judicial cooperation with France following the developing "diplomatic row" between the colonial-tied countries over Rabat's human rights record, according to the Associated Press Thursday.
"Given that French police were sent with a judicial notice for a Moroccan official at the ambassador's residence in a provocative manner, it has been decided to suspend all judicial cooperation agreements between the two countries until a review is conducted," Morocco's Justice Ministry said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Rabat officials summoned France's foreign minister after police in Paris pursued the head of Moroccan domestic intelligence based in the French capital over torture allegations that were filed against him in France by Moroccan activists.
President Francois Hollande spoke with Morocco's king earlier this week in an effort to calm the growing tension with Rabat over the investigation, but such efforts seem to have been slightly less than successful with Rabat's announcement to cut judicial cooperation Thursday.
"There has been a certain tension in the last few days," French politician Laurent Fabius said after speaking to the Moroccan foreign minister. "We had useful explanations, regretted the incidents that could have taken place and deplored the direction things took. I hope all that will be in the past, if it isn't already."
Despite Morocco's scrutinized human rights record particularly against residents of the annexed Western Sahara, France has long supported Rabat due to historical and business relations. At French newspaper Le Monde quoted Spanish actor Javier Bardem quoting a French ambassador saying on Feb. 20 that "Morocco was a mistress with whom we sleep every night even if we aren't especially in love with her, but that we must defend. In other words, we turn a blind eye [to her human rights abuses]."
Bardem allegedly was referring to France's U.N. ambassador Gerard Araud, and it was only on Feb. 26 that Paris' Foreign Ministry Spokesman Roman Nadal confirmed that the actor had met with Araud.
The U.N. released statements in 2012 describing Morocco's human rights abuse record as "systematic," particularly in terms of torture practices in prisons and detention centers.