- A Moroccan agent has revealed plans by the secrete service to assassinate the prominent journalist Ali Lmrabet in an interview with the Moroccan weekly 'El Mechaal'. He was told by staff at the Paris embassy that Mr Lmrabet "must be eliminated." Editor Lmrabet has seen his newspapers closed down and been prohibited from working as a journalist.
Hicham Bouchta, who until recently worked as an agent with the Moroccan secret services, in an interview with the Arabic language weekly 'El Mechaal' revealed he had been given instructions to "eliminate" Morocco's most famous dissident journalist, Ali Lmrabet. Mr Bouchta openly accused Fouad Ali Lhima, Moroccan Secretary of State for Interior, of standing behind the plans to assassinate Mr Lmrabet.
"They asked me to watch him with a view to prepare for his assassination," the ex-spy said in the interview. "The goal was to prepare the suitable conditions to assassinate him," he repeated.
Agent Bouchta had already been charged with watching editor Lmrabet while he was travelling in Spain and France. During that time, Mr Bouchta and Mr Lmrabet had developed a friendly relation, the ex-spy claimed. He therefore warned the journalist of the assassination plot.
"As soon as I came back from France to Madrid I informed the journalist during a phone call, without hesitation. On his side, Lmrabet informed Antonio Rubio from the Spanish newspaper 'El Mundo', and they both informed the Spanish services. After that, a dossier was deposited at the Spanish court, and this is what created many problems to me, because the Moroccan secret services called me and forced me to immediately return to Morocco after threatening me."
Agent Bouchta is now ousted from the Moroccan secrete services and imprisoned in Berkane (Morocco). No independent sources have been able to confirm the ex-spy's version of the story and his accusations.
In May 2003, Mr Lmrabet was sentenced to four years of prison for insulting the King and threatening the territorial integrity following his reporting in the outspoken twin weeklies 'Demain' or 'Doumane'. In January 2004, he was released after King Mohammed had pardoned him, but was banned from working as a journalist. After a stay in France and Spain, Mr Lmrabet now lives in Morocco.
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