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Amnesty International says Morocco 'getting away with torture'

Reuters , Tuesday 19 May 2015
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Amnesty International urged Morocco on Tuesday to stamp out torture, including the use of mock drownings and sexual violence, in a report that cited 173 alleged cases over a four-year period.

Beatings, use of stress positions, asphyxiation and psychological violence were also among an array of torture techniques used by Moroccan security services, Amnesty said in a report on alleged cases between 2010 and 2014. (http://www.amnesty.org.uk/morocco-getting-away-torture#.VVtmAPnF98E)

"Moroccan law bans torture but we have noticed a big gap between legislation and practices," Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa programme director at the human rights group, told reporters in Rabat.

Amnesty also accuses Moroccan authorities of using "false reporting" and slander laws to prosecute alleged torture victims who testify about their experiences.

The Moroccan government contested the content and the methodology followed by Amnesty.

"The authorities underline the partial approach highlighted by the nature of the particular links between some people cited in the report and some Amnesty International representatives," the government said in a response to the group.

Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of Morocco's DGST intelligence agency, is facing lawsuits in France over alleged torture, in cases filed by Moroccan activists. French authorities sought to question him last year about the allegations while he was visiting Paris, which sparked a row between France and Morocco.

Last week King Mohammed promoted Hammouchi to chief of national police, and he will also keep his DGST position.

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