Morocco ex-minister imprisoned after 'adultery' video appeal

Mohamed Ziane, 79, had gone on trial last year after he accused the kingdom's security services of faking a video purporting to show him in a compromising situation with a married woman in a hotel room.

Morocco ex-minister imprisoned after 'adultery' video appeal
Picture: Freeimages.com

RABAT, MOROCCO - A Moroccan former rights minister who became an outspoken government critic was imprisoned Monday after a court upheld his three-year sentence, his son and a judicial source said.

Mohamed Ziane, 79, had gone on trial last year after he accused the kingdom's security services of faking a video purporting to show him in a compromising situation with a married woman in a hotel room.

The video caused a scandal, but Ziane accused the head of the police and Morocco's domestic security forces, Abdellatif Hammouchi, of faking the footage.

The interior ministry in January last year filed a complaint accusing him of criminally "disseminating false accusations".

Ziane's son, lawyer Ali Reda Ziane, defended his father and told AFP "he was transferred to El Arjat prison (near Rabat). He was not even notified legally and he never appeared" before the court.

"He was convicted (by the Rabat appeals court) for all possible and imaginable charges, it's an aberration the likes of which I've never seen," Ali Reda Ziane said.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office confirmed that "on the instruction of the public prosecutor (officers) arrested the person concerned and detained him in accordance with the provisions of the appeal decision".

Ziane was charged under the complaint filed by the Moroccan interior ministry on 11 counts, including "insulting public officials and the judiciary", "defamation", "adultery" and "sexual harassment".

He was sentenced in February to three years in prison and fined 5,000 dirham ($464) but was released.

Mohamed Ziane was human rights minister between 1995 and 1996. The well-connected figure was also the government's lawyer in the 1990s.

In recent years, he has become famous for his outspoken challenges to the Moroccan security apparatus.