Morocco: Maati Monjib Case - the Higher Council of the Judiciary Rejects Attempts to Politicize a Common Law Case and Undermine Respect to Justice

Rabat — The Higher Council of the Judiciary has expressed its total rejection of all the allegations and untruths spread about the judgment pronounced by the court of first instance of Rabat against the accused Maati Monjib, which dishonestly aim at politicizing a case related to common law and undermining the respect due to justice.

In a statement, the Council also expressed its determination to take all legal measures to ensure the independence of the judiciary and its impartiality and to preserve the dignity of judges.

The remarks and comments reported in this case deliberately distorted the truth by a selective reading of specific facts with the aim of challenging the legality of the proceedings and making the national public believe that the conditions for a fair trial were not met for the accused Maati Monjib and that his right to defense was not respected during the last hearing, held on January 20, 2021, said the Council.

The truth is that Monjib used to attend all the hearings on release regarding the case in which the judgment was issued, which started in 2015, in which he is accused of harming internal security and defamation, and he continued to attend the hearings until he decided not to be present at the last five hearings, even before his arrest in the case currently presented to the investigating judge in Rabat in which he is accused of money laundering, the source pointed out.

Maati Monjib was brought back to court on January 20 to appear before the investigating judge and after leaving the investigation office at 11:30 a.m., he was not sent back to prison and remained in court, reflecting the concern of the competent judicial authorities to allow him to exercise his right to attend the hearing relating to the 2015 trial, which began at 3.30 p.m., because although he is in detention in connection with the money laundering case, he remains in a state of freedom in the wake of the 2015 case, for which a judgment was pronounced, the Higher Council of the Judicial said.

The accused was kept in the court while waiting for him to express his will to attend the hearing, but he did not request that, neither did his defense despite being informed of the date of the hearing and despite the presence of one of his lawyers at the hearing where he was representing another client in another case.

At the end of the hearing, he was sent back to prison, the source said, adding that his absence, like that of his defense, emanates from a voluntary personal decision, contrary to the allegations spread and which aim to distort the truth to support baseless allegations, said the Council, which insists through its remarks to strengthen the values of openness, serious and responsible and communication and to inform national and international public opinion.

The Higher Council of the Judiciary underlined that the allegations spread lack a legal basis and constitute a deliberate ignorance of the law, insofar as the code of criminal procedure authorizes any prosecuted person in state of freedom not to attend the trial, adding that the court does not force him to attend nor does it re-summon him, but records his absence in the minutes despite the fact that he was informed of the date of the hearing, and pronounces against him a judgment legally deemed "as contradictory".

"This is what was applied in a normal way by the court regarding the trial of the accused Maati Monjib, which remains a case like all other tort cases, knowing that most of those prosecuted in a state of freedom in this kind of trials prefer not to attend the hearings and judgments are pronounced despite the absence during the last hearing", the Council explained.

The accused Maati Monjib, who was indicted at first instance, has the right like all other litigants to appeal against the judgment, study all its details and put forward what he considers appropriate for his defense and within the framework of the law.

"Based on the above-mentioned facts, all the allegations conveyed to present him as the one who was deprived of his right to defense and a fair trial remain legally baseless", the Council said.

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