IV. Human Rights After the Casablanca Bombings
On the night of May 16, 2003, in the most devastating such attack in Morocco, twelve suicide bombers struck five locations in Casablanca a large hotel, two restaurants, a Jewish civic association, and the Jewish cemetery in the old city. The attacks killed thirty-three people in addition to the bombers and injured more than one hundred. Minister of Justice Mohamed Bouzoubaâ and other officials claimed shortly after the attacks that the perpetrators belonged to two Islamist groups, Sirat al-Mustaqim, which means the righteous path in Arabic, and Salafia Jihadia, an alliance of militants in Morocco and other Maghreb countries accused of links with al-Qaeda.29 As far as Human Rights Watch is aware, no groups have issued credible claims of responsibility.
Following the May 2003 bombings, Moroccos security forces started a campaign of massive arrests, mainly in Casablanca, ostensibly to capture and bring to justice those responsible for planning and carrying out the attacks, or for planning further attacks. Moroccan human rights organizations estimated the number of persons arrested at between 2,000 and 5,000.30 On May 17, 2004, that is, one year after the bombings, Justice Minister Bouzoubaâ stated 2,112 Islamists had been charged in connection with those events, 400 of whom had already been in detention at the time on other charges. The minister added that 903 persons had been convicted in these cases, of whom seventeen were sentenced to death.31
The credible reports of torture and mistreatment of these suspects, and the clear denial of their civil rights during the judicial process, have exposed the fact that the broader freedoms that Moroccans have enjoyed during the last decade-and-a-half were never institutionalized and can thus be easily reversed. For this reason, the stakes of the recent crackdown are high, not only for those suspected of involvement in militant extremist groups but for all Moroccans who have benefited from the ongoing reforms.
On May 29, 2003, less than two weeks after the Casablanca bombings, the Moroccan parliament, in a special session, passed the Law to Combat Terror (Bill 03.03).32 The bill had been pending before the parliament through the winter session. Moroccan human rights groups had argued that the legislation would unnecessarily compromise basic human rights and that the existing Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code provided adequate law enforcement measures to combat illegal and criminal activity of any kind.33
The new counter-terror legislation amended and added articles to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, and introduced a broad definition of terrorism. A list of specific acts can be classified as terrorist when they are deliberately perpetuated by an individual, group or organization, where the main objective is to disrupt public order by intimidation, force, violence, fear or terror.34 The list of acts includes theft, extortion, and the promulgation and dissemination of propaganda or advertisement in support of such acts.35 This definition of terrorism has been applied to convict and imprison journalists who incite violence.36
The legislation amends the Penal Code by increasing the severity of sentences for such offenses when they are judged to be acts of terrorism. For example, a life sentence for a given offense becomes a death penalty if the act is deemed an act of terror.37 Any person convicted of being privy to information pertaining to terrorist offenses without reporting such offenses to the police, civil or military authorities can receive a prison term of five to ten years.38
In cases determined to be terrorist, the legislation increased from eight to twelve days the permissible length of time a detainee can be held in garde à vue police custody before being brought before the investigative judge. It also allows the judicial police, with the prosecutors approval, to prevent suspects being investigated from meeting with their lawyers for up to ten days. The Criminal Procedure Code does not mandate that a detainee be immediately brought before the prosecutor when placed in garde à vue. Lawyers told Human Rights Watch that in practice, in terrorism cases, the prosecutor does not see the detainee until the end of the garde à vue, or even later if police hold the person beyond the legal maximum.
The U.N. Committee against Torture expressed in November 2003, concern about Moroccos counter-terror legislation, notably the considerable extension of the time limit for police custody, the period during which the risk of torture is greatest, both in criminal law and in counter-terrorist legislation.39
According to Moroccan human rights defenders, police conducted most of the arrests in the days after the May 2003 bombings according to the old legal framework, before the counter-terror law had taken effect. The fact that the government did not need to rely on the new law to arrest and investigate suspects, they contend, showed that it was not needed.40 However, since its adoption at the end of May 2003, the new law has been used to round up, hold, and prosecute defendants suspected of links to Islamist groups.
The Moroccan criminal justice system is based on the French model. Many of the amendments to the penal and criminal procedure codes enacted since independence in 1956 were repressive measures intended to facilitate the prosecution of opposition forces and critics of the government.41
The criminal justice system has three basic branches: the investigative prosecution branch, which includes the judicial police (shorta qadhaiya) acting under the direction of the public prosecutor; the investigative judges (qadha at-tahqiq); and the trial judges (qadha el-hokoum). The police and the prosecutor carry out the initial investigation of the suspect. The investigative justice conducts a second investigation, and then decides whether to refer the case to trial. The 2003 counter-terror law assigns to the criminal chamber of the Court of Appeal of Rabat exclusive jurisdiction for terrorism offenses.
The amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code that took effect in October 2003 included several enhancements of the right of the defendant to a fair trial. These include an expansion of the right to appeal convictions that entail prison terms. Until October 2003, criminal convictions could not be appealed on the facts; defendants could only seek a quashing of the conviction by the Court of Cassation on the grounds of misapplication of the law by the lower courts.42 Under international law, the right of appeal should not be limited to serious crimes or particular offenses, but rather apply to any person convicted of any criminal offense.43 Appeals that are limited to questions of law and do not allow the reexamination of facts fail to satisfy the internationally guaranteed right to appeal.44
But even with the improvements made to the Criminal Procedure Code, Moroccos criminal justice system still does not, in law and in practice, meet international standards with regard to respecting due process rights that would insure a fair trial. For example, the right to a fair trial requires that the accused enjoy the same right as the prosecution to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses. It also requires that the prosecution disclose the evidence to the accused, in time to enable the defense to prepare its case. This is known as equality of arms.
In cases researched by Human Rights Watch, trial court judges systematically refused defense requests to call witnesses. They acted as if they believed that they were in compliance with Article 287 of the Criminal Procedure Code simply by hearing oral arguments regarding testimonies mentioned in the report of the investigative judge, instead of calling before the trial court defense witnesses and allowing the cross-examination of witnesses for the prosecution. Article 287 states that the trial court cannot base its decision except on defenses and arguments presented during hearings, and discussed orally and physically before it.
It was a breach of the right to a fair trial for judges to deny defense requests to call prosecution witnesses for cross-examination especially when those witnesses testimony were entered into the record by the investigative judge, at a time when the accused was often not properly or adequately represented by a lawyer, or when the legal representation of the defendant was very limited.
The judicial police are responsible for collecting evidence of crimes and identifying the perpetrators. They operate under the supervision of the public prosecutor. Only security force personnel having the status of judicial police are authorized to arrest, detain, or take and record initial statements by suspects, and to conduct home searches.45
Most of the cases cited in this report involve detainees who reported to their lawyers and relatives that they believed that they were held in the custody of officers of the DST, an agency that is not authorized by law to arrest, detain, or question suspects. Justice Minister Bouzoubaâ confirmed that the DST is not authorized to conduct these operations and denied the DST had actually done so. In September 2003, he said the DST doesnt have the status of judicial police. Its the judicial police which investigate cases submitted to it by the DST.46
According to a recent joint statement emanating from the ministries of justice and interior, the DGST (the new name of the DST) is an intelligence agency tasked with watching over the protection and the safeguarding of the security of the state and its institutions. It is assigned to look for and to prevent, through the collection of intelligence, activities that are inspired, or undertaken or supported by subversive or terrorist movements while also being responsible for responding to interference by external foreign agents.
But in all cases, the statement continues, whether in combating terrorism or counter-espionage, it is agents of the judicial police of the National Security and of the Gendarmerie Royale who, on the basis of information gathered by the DGST, and under the supervision of the prosecutors office, carry out arrests of suspects and bring them before the judiciary.47
DGST personnel actually lack the credentials of officers of the judicial police that would permit them to carry out arrests, searches, seizures, or interrogations, the statement continues. This does not, however, rule out the existence of cooperative relations in the domain of information and intelligence, between the DGST and the judicial police, as is found throughout the world.48
Moroccan law does not require that statements made to the police (a recorded statement is known as a mahdhar in Arabic or a procès verbal in French) be taken in the presence of an attorney. A suspect has the right to ask for an attorney only when the judicial police, with approval of the public prosecutor, decide to extend police custody beyond the initial 48 hours in ordinary crimes, and beyond 96 hours in cases deemed to involve terrorism or state security.49 But the police can further delay access to a lawyer for a total of twelve days from the start of garde à vue detention in terrorism cases, with the approval of the public prosecutor.
In the vast majority of cases researched by Human Rights Watch, the police took statements from suspects when they were in incommunicado detention, with no access to an attorney or the outside world. It is under such conditions, in Morocco as in countless other countries, that the likelihood of coerced confessions and statements is greatest. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights stated that prolonged incommunicado detention may facilitate the perpetration of torture and can in itself constitute a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or even torture.50 The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which is responsible for monitoring the compliance of states with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has observed that [p]rovisions should also be made against incommunicado detention as effective means of preventing cases of torture and ill-treatment.51
Under international human rights law, anyone arrested or detained must be brought promptly before a judge or other independent officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power.52 Moroccan law makes the detainee more vulnerable to abuse by failing to provide him the right to be examined by a physician while in garde à vue detention. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the detainee can exercise this right only once he is brought before the prosecutor.53
The judicial police, when authorized by the public prosecutor, may detain a person suspected of a crime for up to three days without a judicial order from the investigative judge. Under the counter-terror legislation of 2003, the judicial police have the authority to determine that the necessity of the investigation requires detaining a suspect for 96 hours in cases of alleged terrorism offenses.54 This four-day period of police garde à vue detention can be extended twice more with written authorization from the public prosecutor.55 In short, in cases that are deemed terror-related, a person may be held in custody without review by a judge for up to twelve days without any right to appeal or challenge the lawfulness of the detention. Under Moroccos Criminal Procedure Code, such an extension of garde à vue requires that the detainee appear before the prosecutor.56 The prosecutor can thus observe the detainees condition and should be accountable for any signs of mistreatment. As noted earlier, however, defense lawyers told Human Rights Watch that in many cases, especially those involving terrorism suspects, the prosecutor did not observe the detainee before extending the period of detention. Under the October 2003 amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, the prosecutor must see persons in pre-trial detention on at least a weekly basis.
Twelve days of detention without judicial review constitutes a violation of Moroccos obligations under international human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states in Article 9(4), Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful. International treaties do not specify the time limit for such a judicial review. However, the U.N. Human Rights Committee has stated that it must occur within a few days of the persons arrest, a formulation that does not encompass a delay of twelve days.57
Under Moroccos Criminal Procedure Code, judicial police must maintain a registry that includes the identity of all persons under garde à vue detention; the reason for the detention; the beginning and end time of the garde à vue period; a record of the notification of the detainees family; the period of investigation; a log of the times when questioning began and ended; rest hours given to the detainee; the suspects physical health, and the food provided to him or her.58 The detainee has to sign the registry when the garde à vue detention is ended; if he or she refuses, this is to be noted in the record.
In addition, according to Article 67 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, an officer of the judicial police must notify the family of the detained, by one means or another, once a decision is made to place him in garde à vue detention. The officer must indicate that in the records. Among those interviewed by Human Rights Watch, nearly all lawyers and relatives of detainees held in terrorism cases said the judicial police did not inform the families about the whereabouts of their relatives until long after the end of the garde à vue period, which routinely lasted longer than the legal limit. Several families told us the first word they had of their arrested relatives whereabouts was via news broadcasts on television, after he had been transferred from garde à vue to pre-trial detention.
The system for police notification of kin came in for criticism in the annual report of the Advisory Council for Human Rights. It notes that Article 67 does not provide adequate guarantees to ensure that the family is indeed notified; nor does it provide penalties for failure to notify.59
In response to Human Rights Watchs letter, the ministry of justice said that after reviewing cases mentioned in the letter, it determined that in no case had the applicable law on garde à vue detention or on any other matter been violated. The ministrys response added that usually the accused persons and their lawyers raise those violations in later stages of the judicial process without furnishing evidence to support their allegations.
The ministry of justices letter also responded to the allegations made to Human Rights Watch by defense attorneys and family members that suspects were blindfolded when taken to the prosecutor and sometimes when first questioned by the prosecutor. The ministry said that such allegations were groundless and, moreover, no complaints of this nature had been filed.
Under Moroccos code of criminal procedure, a statement taken by the judicial police in misdemeanor and felony cases is considered an authentic instrument admissible as prima facie evidence, and can be discarded only if procedural irregularities are proven during the trial.60 In practice, this rule allows the public prosecution and the investigative judge to accept almost automatically these statements and incorporate them in their final reports. This presumption in favor of the validity of the statement purportedly made to police compromises the right of the accused to the presumption of innocence at each stage of the judicial process,61 and makes it more difficult for him to exercise his right to challenge statements and confessions made under duress. To protect the rights of the defendant, the police registry and reports prepared during the investigative, pre-trial phase should remain inadmissible in trial court until the prosecution meets the burden of proving their veracity and their legal validity according to the Code of Criminal Procedure. There should be a very strong presumption against the admissibility of any confessions made while the suspect is being held in prolonged incommunicado detention, as this is when torture and ill-treatment are most likely to occur. As a general rule, convictions based solely on confessions are highly suspect.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the public prosecutor oversees apprehension of suspects, their detention, and their delivery before the justice system.62 In this connection, the public prosecutor oversees the conduct of the judicial police and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the laws governing garde à vue detention, through such means as visiting and monitoring police detention centers.63 The public prosecutor also oversees the conditions of persons held in garde à vue detention, and has the authority to end that detention.64
Requests for medical examinations
Under certain circumstances, the prosecutor has the right to question and investigate suspects directly. When a suspect is detained in cases of flagrante delicto, arepresentative of the public prosecutor must tell the suspect that he or she has the right to choose a lawyer and if he or she is unable or unwilling to choose one, the head of the criminal chamber of the appropriate court is to appoint one. The public prosecutor must order a medical examination if he or she notices marks of violence on the suspects body or is asked by the suspect or the defense attorney for such an examination.65 The medical examination has to take place immediately, before the prosecutor commences the investigation.
In response to Human Rights Watchs letter, the justice ministry denied that any violations had occurred with regard to the right of persons to request a medical examination to determine whether they had been subject to torture or violence. The ministrys response emphasized procedural safeguards, such as the role of the public prosecution in overseeing the judicial police, and the authority of the prosecutor to order a medical examination if he or she notices marks of violence and torture on the suspects body, or is asked by the detainee for such an examination.
The ministry said that in the cases cited by Human Rights Watch, the judicial authorities did not order such examinations since they noticed nothing that would warrant them. Nor, the ministry continued, do the case files show that the defendants had requested such examinations or registered any complaint when they were first presented to the public prosecutor or the investigative judge, despite the fact that they were in most of the cases already represented by a lawyer.
In many of the cases researched by Human Rights Watch, detainees families asserted that they had no legal representation when they appeared before the prosecutor, or that the legal representation was of poor quality. In some of the cases researched, detainees reportedly were not informed of their rights under the law. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine if this may have resulted in some detainees failing to request a medical examination before they were brought before the investigative judge or the trial court, or if some asked for medical exams and the authorities simply refused to register their demand.
The reforms to the Criminal Procedure Code that took effect in October 2003, together with the 2003 counter-terror legislation, give new authority to the office of the public prosecutor.66 The public prosecution, which belongs to the executive branch, enjoys exclusive authority to authorize an extension of garde à vue detention in terrorism cases for up to twelve days and in state security offenses for up to eight days, without the suspect having a right of appeal or judicial review. The prosecution also has the exclusive authority to refer police officers to the criminal chamber for any misconduct.67
The legal reforms also enhance the powers of the public prosecutor at the expense of the investigative judge. For example, the investigative judge cannot issue an arrest warrant without consulting the prosecutor.68 The Criminal Procedural Code obliges the investigative judge to inform the prosecution of many of his steps, and prior to the exercise of some of his own powers.69 Finally, the public prosecutor has the authority to refer cases to investigative judges and also can submit a motion to the criminal chamber of the court in question asking for the reassignment of the investigative judge, even in the middle of an investigation, to guarantee the appropriate conduct of justice. In those courts that have more than one investigative judge attached to them, the prosecutor may assign a case to the investigative judge of his choosing.70 These enhanced powers give prosecutors further means of undermining the potential independence of the judicial investigation.
Investigative judges, in the Moroccan criminal justice system, determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring someone to trial. As noted above, their findings of fact are not easily contested during a trial. The legal status of the investigative judge is nonetheless ambiguous in the criminal justice system. On the one hand, under Article 19 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the investigative judge is considered part of the judicial police and thus under the supervision of the public prosecutor. On the other hand, the preamble as well as many articles of the Criminal Procedure Code emphasizes the separation between the three components of the criminal justice system: the public prosecutor (including the judicial police), the investigative branch of the judiciary, and the trial branch.
When a suspect is brought before an investigative judge, the judge has to identify the accused, and must inform him or her immediately of the right to choose a legal counsel. If the defendant does not choose a lawyer, the investigative judge must appoint one, at no cost to the defendant, from among the members of the local bar association.71 The defendant must have legal representation when the investigative judge takes his or her testimony, during the examination of the case by the investigative judge, and, if the case goes to trial, before the panel of trial judges hearing the case.
The investigative judge informs the accused of the offenses attributed to him and that he is free not to make any statement.72 Moroccan law, however, does not require the judicial police or the prosecutor to notify a suspect of his rights to remain silent and not to incriminate himself. In at least two cases Human Rights Watch investigated, suspects reported being brought into the office of the investigative judge blindfolded, and claimed they had not been informed about their full rights even at this stage of the investigation.
The investigative judge has the duty to order an examination by a medical expert if he notices any marks on the suspects body that warrant such examination. Moreover, the investigative judge must order a medical examination whenever it is requested by a defense attorney or by a suspect who has been held in garde à vue detention.73 The investigative judge can summon and hear witnesses separately without the suspect present, or bring them into the proceedings to confront the suspect directly.74 The investigative judge can also allow or prevent the defense attorney from raising questions during this phase.75
Moroccan human rights activists, lawyers representing detainees, family members of detainees, and several journalists all told Human Rights Watch of detainees whom they said had been tortured in police custody following the May 16 bombings. Local and international human rights organizations have also raised these concerns.76 Human Rights Watch did not have direct access to prisoners currently in prison. Their allegations were conveyed to us by their lawyers and family members who visited them after their transfer to pre-trial detention.
In November 2003, the U.N. Committee against Torture expressed its concern regarding the increase, according to some information, in the number of arrests for political reasons ., the increase in the number of detainees and prisoners in general, including political prisoners, and the increase in the number of allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, allegations implicating the National Surveillance Directorate (DST).77
Moroccan authorities must address these allegations of torture in accordance with the countrys commitments under international human rights law, particularly under the Convention against Torture.
Defense lawyers told Human Rights Watch that because detainees have the right to be examined by a medical expert only when they are first presented before the public prosecutor,the judicial police typically wait for the traces to disappear before presenting detainees to the prosecutor and the investigative judge.78
The amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code that took effect in October 2003 render inadmissible as evidence any confession made under violence or coercion.79 However, Moroccos Penal Code does not include a definition of torture which is fully consistent with the provisions of Convention against Torture.80 Moroccan authorities have promised, most recently in July 2004, to introduce for adoption an amendment toward this end.
Under Moroccos international human rights commitments, the competent national authority must promptly and impartially examine all allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, and the government must hold responsible and punish those who encourage, order, tolerate, or perpetrate acts of torture, including the officials in charge of the place of detentionwhere the prohibited act is found to have taken place.81
The U.N. Committee against Torture noted in its 2003 conclusions and recommendations, after reviewing Moroccos periodic report, that Morocco should clearly prohibit any act of torture and ensure that all allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are immediately investigated impartially and thoroughly, and ensure that appropriate penalties are imposed on those responsible and that equitable compensation is granted to the victims.82
In many cases researched by Human Rights Watch, lawyers and family members recounted what defendants told them about the methods used to extract confessions or to coerce their signatures on statements they said they did not make during garde à vue detention. These methods ranged from physical violence to verbal humiliation, threats of violence and sexual abuse against them and their female relatives.83 These alleged violations occurred during garde à vue detention, a period when, according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the judicial police has custody of the detainee. However, numerous detainees, including some whose cases are described below, said they believed they were taken for interrogation at facilities run not by the judicial police but rather by the DST intelligence agency, whose agents are not legally empowered to detain and question suspects. Interrogation by a non-judicial agency at an unauthorized detention site significantly increases the risks of torture owing to the absence of accountability and transparency.
In response to Human Rights Watchs letter, the ministry of justice said that the complaints of torture and improper means of coercion were baseless:
It is to be noted that in the majority of the statements issued by the judiciary police and the examining magistrate, no mention is made of any request on the part of the aforementioned individuals for a medical expert while in police custody. Neither was there any evidence to move the judicial authorities to call for a medical examination. Furthermore, the prisoners themselves did not mention any abuse or call for a medical expert during their first appearance before the judiciary police or the prosecutor, although in nearly every instance they were accompanied by their attorneys.
The reply of the ministry fails to address several salient points. First, a serious deficiency of Moroccos Criminal Procedure Code is that it does not require the judicial police to inform detainees about their rights, including the right to request an independent medical examination by a competent authority. Second, required meetings of prosecutors with detainees when ordering extensions of garde à vue detention often failed to take place, particularly in terrorism cases, delaying considerably the opportunity to request such an examination. Third, some detainees did not have legal counsel and therefore may not have been aware of their right to ask for medical examinations. Finally, Human Rights Watch finds it remarkable that no documents whatsoever relating to requests for medical examinations were found in the cases that we reviewed. The ministrys reply does not address the question of whether the prosecutors did in fact fulfill their obligations under Moroccan law to inform detainees of this right, or whether the investigative judges met their obligation to record such requests in the case files, which they are solely responsible for compiling.
Morocco is among the few states that declared, in accordance with Article 28 of the Convention against Torture, that they did not recognize the competence of the U.N. Committee against Torture under the Conventions Article 20 to conduct confidential investigations.84 Morocco also does not recognize the competence of CAT under Article 22 of the Convention to consider individual complaints. By making such declarations, the Moroccan government undermined the implementation of the Convention against Torture within the country.85
In July 2004, authorities said that the government has no objection to lifting the reservations regarding Article 20 of Convention against Torture and will undertake, in the very near future, the necessary steps to do so.86
Morocco is obliged under international human rights law to take effective measures in order to prevent torture and ill-treatment of detainees. These measures should include investigating promptly and impartially credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and filing criminal and disciplinary charges when credible evidence is found. Failure to do so fosters the culture of impunity among law enforcement agents and consequently contributes to the institutionalization of torture.
In its response to Human Rights Watch concerning the status of investigations and disciplinary measures pursuant to allegations of police mistreatment of persons in garde à vue detention, the ministry of justice restated the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code on the role and authority of the public prosecution to oversee and supervise the conduct of the judicial police. The ministry provided no information on disciplinary or criminal actions taken against law enforcement agents. Lawyers and human rights organizations with whom we spoke could cite no cases involving terror suspects where a policeman had been disciplined for abusing suspects, except for the death of Mohamed Bounit. In that case, according to the 2003 report of the Moroccan Advisory Council for Human Rights, police officers are facing charges in connection with his death in June 2003 while being transported in a police vehicle.87
In response to the publication in June 2003 of the first annual report of the Advisory Council for Human Rights, the government said it had ordered that investigations be opened into allegations of torture coming from domestic and international nongovernmental organizations.88 Human Rights Watch commends this statement of intent, so long as authorities ensure that the investigations that are opened meet international standards for impartiality and transparency.89
The Secret Detention Center at Temara
In at least four of the cases presented in this report, the detainee indicated the place of interrogation as Temara, a compound just south of Rabat on the road to Casablanca. Numerous and concordant reports by local and international human rights organizations and by independent Moroccan newspapers have characterized Temara as a secret, unacknowledged detention facility run by the DST, which has its national headquarters in Temara.90 The DST is a domestic intelligence-gathering agency attached to the ministry of interior. The DST is not part of the judicial police and as such, does not come under the supervision of the office of the prosecutor or the investigative judge, and is not authorized by law to arrest, detain, and interrogate persons suspected of criminal offenses.
The detention center at Temara is, according to the allegations made by detainees featured in this report and by others cited elsewhere, a place where in recent years DST interrogators have routinely tortured and otherwise mistreated suspected Islamist militants in order to coerce confessions or to force them to sign statements they did not make.
Moroccan authorities have denied the existence of a detention facility run by the DST. As noted above, Justice Minister Bouzoubaâ stated in September 2003 that the DST doesnt have the status of judicial police, implying that its agents do not arrest, detain, or interrogation suspects. Rather, he explained, the DST submits information to the judicial police, who then conduct criminal investigations, including arrests, on the basis of that information. Then-Human Rights Minister Mohamed Aujjar told Human Rights Watch on February 5, 2004, There are no detentions outside the law. There is no DST detention center in Temara. In Temara, there is a brigade of the judicial police and there is a DST facility, but the DST facility is not for detaining people.
The justice ministrys June 2004 letter to Human Rights Watch similarly denied the existence of any DST detention facility:
In what regards the existence of a special facility used as a detention center by the National Territory Surveillance Department, according to the provisions of the Criminal Code, all suspects are to be placed in custody at a station of the judiciary police or of the Royal Police, which are subject to inspection by the public prosecutor.
Justice Minister Bouzoubaâ repeated this denial in an interview with the state-run Maghreb Arab Presse agency on July 2. The days of secret detention centers are over, he said. The detention facility in Temara, he said is legal and operated by the National Police.91
Nevertheless, the evidence is compelling that interrogations take place at a Temara facility that is operating in a secretive fashion, whether or not it is nominally under the direction of the judicial police. Islamist suspects taken there uniformly reported that they were held incommunicado and interrogated by agents they believed were attached to the DST. The written police statements taken from detainees who said they were interrogated at Temara never, to our knowledge, listed Temara as the place where the interrogation occurred. The case of Abdelghani Ben Taous (see below) illustrates the problem. Human Rights Watch examined the statement prepared by the judicial police in his file, which, according to his lawyer, falsified both where he was held and when he was first detained, thus obscuring the fact that he had been held in garde à vue detention well beyond the legal limit. The police registry stated that Ben Taous was arrested on June 23, 2003, rather than the actual date of June 10, and also stated that Ben Taous place of detention was Anfa police station in Casablanca. The registry nowhere mentions Temara, although according to his lawyer Ben Taous spent only one day in Casablanca and more than two weeks in Temara. To the best of our knowledge, no relatives of persons taken to Temara for interrogation were formally notified by authorities that they were being held in Temara. Detainees report being blindfolded when they are transported to and from this facility, and recognized where they were by such indicators as the distance traveled to reach it and by the sounds of animals in the nearby zoo that they were able to hear from their cells.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee has stated that to guarantee the effective protection of detained persons, provisions should be made for detainees to be held in places officially recognized as places of detention and for their names and places of detention, as well as for the names of persons responsible for their detention, to be kept in registers readily available and accessible to those concerned, including relatives and friends. To the same effect, the time and place of all interrogations should be recorded, together with the names of all those present and this information should also be available for purposes of judicial or administrative proceedings. Provisions should also be made against incommunicado detention.92
According to the Criminal Procedure Code, a person whose garde à vue detention is extended beyond the initial forty-eight hours by the judicial police has the right to contact a lawyer, with the public prosecutors permission, for a meeting limited to thirty minutes.93 The meeting has to take place under the surveillance of judicial police officer in circumstances that guarantee the confidentiality of the meeting.94 The lawyer is prohibited from discussing and sharing with anyone anything mentioned in the meeting until the end of the garde à vue detention.
But a suspect under investigation for state security and terrorism offenses has no right to contact an attorney during the first ninety-six hours of garde à vue detention. Only after the detention is extended does the suspect obtain the right to meet his attorney for a limited time. However, even then the suspects meeting with his attorney may be subject to additional delays if those delays are approved by the public prosecutor. Under the 2003 counter-terror legislation, the judicial police may deny for a total of ten days a meeting between a lawyer and a suspect held in garde à vue in connection with terrorism offenses, provided that they have obtained authorization from the public prosecutor.95 It is not required that the suspect be presented to the public prosecutor to secure this authorization.
Only when a suspect is brought before an investigative judge is legal representation mandatory.96 This can be, in terrorism cases, as long as twelve days. It is the investigative judge who must immediately inform the suspect of his or her right to appoint a lawyer; and if the suspect does not hire a lawyer but requests one, the judge must appoint a lawyer to represent him or her for free.97 The only exception, under the amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure that took effect in 2003, is in flagrante delicto cases (when the suspect is alleged to have been caught in the act of committing an offense), when the suspects lawyer has the right to be present at the investigation by the public prosecutor and to submit documents or other written materials.
In November 2003, the U.N. Committee against Torture, responding to Moroccos most recent report, expressed its concern about the non-existence, during the period of police custody, of guarantees of rapid and appropriate access by persons in custody to a lawyer and a doctor, and to a relative.98
Under international human rights law the right to a fair trial requires access to a lawyer during detention, interrogation, and preliminary investigation. The U.N. Human Rights Committee has stated that all persons arrested must have immediate access to counsel.99 Moreover, it has been widely recognized that prompt and regular access to a lawyer is an important safeguard against torture, ill-treatment, coerced confessions, and other abuses.100 Under international human rights law, access to a lawyer may be delayed only in exceptional circumstances, as prescribed by law. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture has recommended that anyone who has been arrested should be given access to legal counsel no later than 24 hours after the arrest.101 The Special Rappoteur also noted, on a separate occasion, that detainees must have a right of access to a lawyer from the outset of detention, the lawyer must be present during the interrogation and the detainee must have the right to talk to the lawyer in private.102 In no case should access begin later than forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.103
Without immediate access to legal counsel, many detainees, according to testimonies of lawyers and family members of detainees, were coerced into confessing and could not exercise their due process rights during the pre-trial stages, including their right to ask for a medical examination or to remain silent during the police investigation. In many cases, detainees were denied access to lawyers and family members until they appeared before the investigative judge.
Although legal representation is mandatory before the investigative judge, in some cases, such as those of Ahmed Chikou and Aziz Shafai (see below), detainees were not even at that point informed about their right to choose an attorney and did not have legal representation.
The ministrys response said that a check of the cases cited by Human Rights Watch revealed that none of those defendants or their lawyers had raised the lack of legal representation with the prosecutor or the investigative judge. Human Rights Watch, given the consistency of its numerous testimonies, stands by its finding. As mentioned above, Moroccos Criminal Procedure Code requires that a suspect have legal counsel when he or she is brought before an investigative judge. The ministrys explanation, that the case files do not indicate that the defendants or their attorneys objected to the lack of legal representation, does not address the obligation to ensure that defendants have legal representation at this phase of the pre-trial detention. Moreover, the investigative judge normally decides what and what not to include in the official case files. If in fact instances of infringement of the right to counsel are not recorded in the files, this may reflect the fact that judges decided not to make note of those complaints in compiling the record, which is not required to be a verbatim account of the proceedings.
Under Moroccan law, home searches and seizures of property generally cannot take place without the written consent of the person whose house is to be searched. Searches should take place only between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Under the 2003 counter-terror legislation, home searches in cases of terrorism offenses can take place between 9:00 pm and 6:00 a.m. with a warrant from the public prosecutor.104 Moreover, when the prosecutor has issued a warrant, the home search can be conducted in alleged terrorism offenses without the consent of the homeowner. But even then it must be conducted in the presence of the person whose home is being searched or, if that is not possible, in the presence of two persons who are not members of the judicial police.105 An investigative judge can also authorize judicial police to search a home during night-time hours in the presence of a representative of the public prosecutor.106
The right to protection from unlawful and arbitrary interference in ones privacy, family, and home is well-recognized in international human rights law.107 The U.N. Human Rights Committee has stressed that in order to avoid arbitrary interference with an individuals rights, even interference provided for by law must be reasonable in particular circumstances and consistent with the aims of the ICCPR. The Committee further stated that searches of a persons home should be restricted to a search necessary for necessary evidence and should not be allowed to amount to harassment.108
In cases researched by Human Rights Watch, family members and lawyers stated that home searches sometimes were conducted in the middle of the night by plainclothes security officers who often did not identify themselves or present search warrants. They described how some of the searches were conducted in an intimidating and threatening manner, leaving disarray behind them.
 Tracy Wilkinson and Sebastian Rotella, 'Local Hands' Accused in Morocco Blast, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2003.
 Moroccan Organization for Human Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights, « Observations and Recommendations on the Report by the Moroccan Government in pursuance of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, » October 2003, p. 12, http://www.fidh.org/magmoyen/rapport/2003/ma2011a.pdf (consulted July 23, 2004).
 « Maroc: 2.112 islamistes inculpés après les attentats de Casablanca (ministre), » Agence France Presse, May 17, 2004. The letter from the justice ministry to Human Rights Watch put the figures slightly differently: « [T]he number of persons brought to justice on charges of terrorism reached 1,748 as of June 3, 2004 [since May 16, 2003], including 315 cases still under investigation, 199 cases still ongoing before the district court or the court of appeals, and 1,234 cases in which sentence has already been passed.
 Published in the Official Bulletin of the Kingdom of Morocco, no. 5112, May 29, 2003.
 Memorandum regarding the counter-terror bill 03.03, Secretariat of the National Network against the Anti- Terror Bill an ad hoc consortium of prominent human rights groups and other civil society organizations, Rabat, February 24, 2003. Human Rights Watch interview with Abdelaziz Nouaydi of the Moroccan Organization of Human Rights, Rabat, January 29, 2004.
 Moroccan Penal Code, Article 218-1.
 Moroccan Penal Code, Article 218-2.
 Mohamed al-Hurd, editor of the Oujda-based ash-Sharq weekly, was given a three-year prison sentence but was then pardoned and released by the king on January 7, 2004. The charges against him and two other editors were based on an article by Zakariya Boughrara, an Islamist activist, which appeared in the May 5-May 20, 2003 issue of Al-Hayat al-Maghribiya and was reprinted on June 5 in ash-Sharq. In the article, Boughrara discussed the history of the Islamist movement in Morocco and its relationship with the country's intelligence services. The article, which criticized the Moroccan intelligence services for doing the "dirty work" of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, was written before the May 2003 suicide attacks in Casablanca.
 Moroccan Penal Code, Article 218-7.
 Moroccan Penal Code, Article 218-8.
Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Morocco, 5/2/2004, CAT/C/CR/31/2[online], http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/35b5adec21c0a623c1256e680033c4fb?Opendocument;
U.N. Commission on Human Rights: Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of: Torture and Detention, Report of the Special Rapporteur, Theo van Boven, E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, pp. 211-212.
 Human Rights Watch interview with attorney Moustafa ar-Ramid, Casablanca, February 10, 2004. Ar-Ramid is also a deputy in parliament and a member of the Party for Justice and Development, an Islamist party.
 Abdelaziz Nouaydi, The Right to a Fair Trial in the Moroccan Criminal Procedure, in David Weissbrodt and Rüdiger Wolfrum, eds., The Right to a Fair Trial, Berlin: Springer, 1997, at pp. 165-218 (Series; Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht; Bd. 129).
 See Articles 396-415 of the Criminal Procedural Code. The Cassation process aims at reviewing the legal application that the lower judges have given to the incriminating acts. In other words, the Cassation reviews the application of law and procedure and does not review the facts.
 See Article 14 of the ICCPR. See also U.N. Human Rights Committee, General Comment 13, para 17 (April 13, 1994).
 The U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has expressed concern about appeal procedures that review only legal aspects and not facts. U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, E/CN.4/1994/7, para. 113 and 404; see also, Manfred Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (Kehl am Rhein: N.P. Engel, 1993), p. 266.
 Articles 18, 21 and 59 of the Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code.
 Libération (Casablanca) and Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb, September 10, 2003, cited in Amnesty International, Morocco/Western Sahara: Torture in the Anti-Terrorism Campaign The Case of Témara Detention Center, June 24, 2004, MDE 29/004/2004.
 Quoted in « Le gouvernement ordonne l'ouverture d'enquêtes sur les allégations
de torture émanant d'ONG nationales et internationales, » Maghreb Arab Presse, July 20, 2004.
 Article 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code. State security crimes are listed in Articles 181-218 of the Penal Code.
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 2003/32, adopted in the 57th meeting on April 23, 2003, chap. XI. E/CN.4/2003/L.11/Add.4. See also the U.N. Committee against Torture CAT/C/SR.251, p.18.
 Human Rights Committee, General Comment 20, Article 7 (Forty-fourth session, 1992), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 30 (1994), para. 11.
 Article 9(3) of the ICCPR.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Articles 73 and 74.
 Prior to the counter-terror legislation, only in cases involving state security offenses did police have the authority to detain a suspect for 96 hours, renewable for an additional 96 hours with the prosecutors approval.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 80.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 80.
 Human Rights Committee, General Comment 8, Article 9 (Sixteen session, 1982), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 8 (1994), online at www1.umn.edu/humanrts/gencomm/hrcom8.htm (viewed July 30, 2004).
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 66.
 Advisory Council for Human Rights, Kingdom of Morocco, Annual Report on the Condition of Human Rights in Morocco, 2003 (in Arabic), released on June 15, 2004, p. 53.
 Articles 289 and 290 of the Criminal Procedure Code. See also Moroccos third periodic report to the U.N. Committee against Torture, U.N. Document CAT/C/66/Add.1 (May 21, 2003), paragraph 163 at p. 28.
 Article 14(2) of the ICCPR states: Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
 Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code, Article 40.
 Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code, Article 45.
 Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code, Article 66.
 Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code, Article 73.
 Dirasat wa Abhath fi Qanun al-Mastara al-Janaiya al-Jadid [Studies and Analyses of the New Criminal Procedure Code], a special double volume (II and III) of Anfas Hokoukia, an Arabic-language legal journal published in Rabat, December 2003.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 30.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 154.
 See Articles 93, 99, 100, 134, 175, 179, and 196.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Articles 90 and 91.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 134.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 134.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 134.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Articles 119 and 125. The confrontation between a suspect and other suspects or witnesses is a common pre-trial investigative technique in which contested accounts are presented based on earlier statements made before the judicial police in order to ascertain their validity and authenticity.
 Article 140 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The law is silent about whether this includes procedural or substantive questions, or both.
 Local and international human rights organizations reported in November 2003 to the U.N. Committee against Torture about a number of cases in which persons detained and charged with terrorism alleged that they had been tortured and ill-treated by police and apparently by DST agents. Moroccan Organization for Human Rights, Muhakamat ikhtal fiha mizan al-adalah [Trials in which the scales of justice have been tipped], Rabat, November 2003: http://www.omdh.org/news/16mai.htm ; Amnesty International, Briefing to the Committee against Torture, November 2003, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE290112003?open&of=ENG-MAR. International Federation for Human Rights (Fédération Internationale des droits de lHomme, FIDH), Les autorités marocaines à lépreuve du terrorisme: la tentation de larbitraire, report no. 379, February 2004, www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/ma379f-3.pdf ; Amnesty International, Torture in the "anti-terrorism" campaign - the case of Témara detention centre, http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE290042004?open&of=ENG-MAR
 Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture: Morocco, February 5, 2004, CAT/C/CR/31/2. (Concluding Observations/Comments), online at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CAT.C.CR.31.2.En?OpenDocument.
 Human Rights Watch interview with attorney Mohamed Sebbar, president of the Forum for Truth and Justice, Rabat, February 2, 2004. Also, Human Rights Watch interview with attorney Taoufiq Moussaif, Rabat, February 3, 2004.
 Article 293 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Article 15 of the Convention against Torture stipulates that states party to the convention shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.
 Article 1 of Convention defines torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
 See also: Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Istanbul Principles) annexed to the U.N. Commission of Human Rights resolution 2000/43 and UN General Assembly resolution 55/89.
 U.N. Committee against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations: Morocco, February 5, 2004,para. 6, CAT/C/CR/31/2, online at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/35b5adec21c0a623c1256e680033c4fb?Opendocument.
 The U.N. Human Rights Commission stated in April 2003 that: intimidation and coercion, as described in article 1 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, including serious and credible threats, as well as death threats, to the physical integrity of the victim or of a third person, can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or to torture. Resolution 2003/32 of the HRC adopted in the 57th meeting on April 23, 2003, chap. XI. E/CN.4/2003/L.11/Add.4.
 Under Article 20 of Convention against Torture, if the Committee against Torture receives reliable information indicating that torture is being systematically practiced in the territory of a State party, the Committee shall invite that State party to cooperate in the examination of the information and to this end to submit observations with regard to the information concerned.
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the U.N. Secretary General on status of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, E/CN.4/2004/52.
 « Le gouvernement ordonne l'ouverture d'enquêtes sur les allégations de torture émanant d'ONG nationales et internationales, » Maghreb Arab Presse, July 20, 2004.
 Advisory Council for Human Rights, Kingdom of Morocco, Annual Report on the Condition of Human Rights in Morocco, 2003 (in Arabic), released on June 15, 2004, p. 40.
 Joint statement from the ministries of justice and interior, July 20, 2004, cited in « Le gouvernement ordonne l'ouverture d'enquêtes sur les allégations de torture émanant d'ONG nationales et internationales, » Maghreb Arab Presse, July 20, 2004.
 U.N. General Assembly, Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, GA Resolution 55/89 Annex 4/Dec/2000 [online] http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/h_comp51.htm; Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (The Istanbul Protocol), Submitted to United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, August 9, 1999, [online] http://www.phrusa.org/research/istanbul_protocol/
 Moroccan Organization for Human Rights, Muhakamat ikhtal fiha mizan al-adalah [Trials in which the scale of justice have been tipped], Rabat, November 2003 [online], http://www.omdh.org/news/16mai.htm; Amnesty International, Briefing to the Committee against Torture, November, 2003, [online], http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE290112003?open&of=ENG-MAR; Fédération Internationale des droits de lHomme, Les autorités marocaines à lépreuve du terrorisme: la tentation de larbitraire, report no. 379, February 2004, [online], www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/ma379f-3.pdf; Amnesty International, Torture in the "anti-terrorism" campaign - the case of Témara detention centre, 24 June, 2004, [online], http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE290042004?open&of=ENG-MAR
 « La Maroc nie l'existence de centres de détention secrets, » Reuters, July 2, 2004.
 Human Rights Committee, General Comment 20, Article 7 (Forty-fourth session, 1992), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 30 (1994), para. 11.
 Article 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
 Article 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
 According to the amended Article 66, the garde à vue detention in state security crimes is ninety-six hours, renewable once for the same period, and in terrorist charges the detention period is ninety-six hours renewable twice.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 139.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 134.
 U.N. Committee against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations: Morocco, February 5, 2004.
 Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Georgia, UN Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.74, 9 April 1997, para. 28, online at www1.umn.edu/humanrts/hrcommittee/Georgia97.htm (consulted September 30, 2004).
 Human Rights Committee General Comment 20, para. 11; Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, (E/CN.4/1992/17), 17 December 1991, para. 284.
 Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1990/17, December 18, 1989, para. 272; see also U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1995/34, January 12, 1995, para. 926.
 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Theo van Boven, on his visit to Spain, submitted to the 60th session of the Human Rights Commission on February 6, 2004, E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.2, parag. 41 p. 13.
 Principle 7 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990).
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 62.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Articles 60 and 79.
 Criminal Procedure Code, Article 102.
 Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states, No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.
 U.N. Human Rights Committee, General Comment 16, adopted at the 23rd session, 1988), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 21 (1994).