By Siham Ali
Moulay El Hassan Eddaki, the public prosecutor at Rabat’s appeal court, says that a number of terrorist plots have been foiled thanks to intelligence information.
The headquarters of Morocco’s intelligence service contains no secret detention centre, human rights workers and the public prosecutor concluded after inspecting the site in Temara on Wednesday (May 18th).
The move came in response to repeated allegations from opposition members and activists, who claimed that the offices of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST) were used as a clandestine prison where detainees were tortured.
“We saw no signs to suggest that this place is being used for any kind of illegal detention,” said National Human Rights Council (CNDH) Secretary-General Mohamed Sebbar after the three-hour long visit.
Moulay El Hassan Eddaki, the public prosecutor at Rabat’s appeal court, reiterated in a press briefing that nothing indicated that the intelligence headquarters were being used to conceal a site where human rights were violated. The site included administrative buildings comprising civil servants’ offices, a management training centre, sports facilities and a refectory, he said.
The DGST is not involved in the arrest or detention of suspects, but it is a place where vital information about different forms of crime such as terrorism, drugs trafficking and money laundering can be collated, the lawyer added.
“A number of terrorist projects have been thwarted thanks to information provided by the directorate,” he added. “This body is working in co-ordination with other departments from our international allies. Furthermore, all states have authorities of this kind, which are intended to protect the country and its people.”
Parliamentarians expressed the same opinion. Popular Movement head Mohamed Moubdiaa explained that the visit had helped to dispel “the unfounded accusations”.
“Reports presented to us about this authority’s activities have demonstrated the sheer scale of its work, because it has been able to thwart a number of planned terrorist attacks,” he said.
Justice and Development Party (PJD) chief Lahcen Daoudi also confirmed that nothing unusual had been found during the investigation. Still, he pointed out that “the site needs to be visited from time to time”.
“We don’t know what might have happened in the past,” Daoudi said.
The visit made by various parties to the DGST headquarters did not prove that there were not been arbitrary detentions and human rights violations in the past, according to 21-year-old student Hassan Boukhalfi. He called for setting up a parliamentary select committee to dispel all the doubts.
The visit came after law enforcement agencies quelled a May 15th rally held by the February 20 Movement in Rabat city centre to protest alleged human rights violations in the kingdom.
“This isn’t a secret detention site, but the administrative headquarters of the DGST,” government spokesman Khalid Naciri said May 15th. “We carry out our work with the utmost transparency and honesty.”