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Imad El Attabi, demonstrator of ‘Hirak Rif’, the first to be killed by the hand of the Moroccan security forces during the Hirak Rif protests

Imad El Attabi (1995–2017)

The 22-year-old Imad El Attabi, like thousands of others, went out to demonstrate for his rights in Al Hoceima on 20 July 2017. When he left his house he could not know that he would not return and that a bullet from the Moroccan security forces would put an end to his life. On top of this crime his family was denied the right to say the last goodbye to him. Witnesses of this murder were pressured, intimidated and imprisoned.

When Imad El Attabi took part in the demonstration of 20 July 2017 in Al Hoceima, he was suddenly shot with live ammunition, he was hit in the head and fell to the ground, whereupon his friends took him to the local hospital. Nurse Najib Bouzambou witnessed this. Subsequently, without consulting his family or the doctor on duty, his lifeless body was taken by the local authorities, most probably on assignment from Rabat, the next day by helicopter to the military hospital in Rabat.

On 8 August 2017 Imad El Attabi was officially declared dead by the Moroccan regime. Thousands of Riffians said goodbye to him during his funeral in Al-Hoceima. That the Moroccan regime had something to hide with regard to the death of Imad El Attabi who was buried in Iyyar Azegwagh, a nearby town near Al Hoceima, is evidenced by the fact that the coffin was not allowed to be opened, his medical file was not given access and his family was put under pressure by the Moroccan regime not to speak publicly about the death of their son.

X-ray photographs with words: “a bullet in the brain yesterday”.

After the funeral, the Moroccan regime started the prosecution against the witnesses of this political murder of El Attabi. The first was Abdelhak Al Fahsi (1999) from Ayt Ulichek in the province of Driouch (Nador). He was a direct witness to the political murder and responded to a call by lawyer Abdessadeq El Bouchattaoui. This lawyer presented himself on facebook as the lawyer of the El Attabi family and searched that way for witnesses of the murder of El Attabi. El Fahsi then contacted the lawyer. This brought not only the lawyer in contact with this witness, but also the Moroccan secret service. To put it mildly, this was a naive action by this lawyer who had also assisted Nasser Zefzafi and other kidnapped Riffian activists. He should have known that he was spied on and that he should not have endangered his clients in this way.

And so Al Fahsi was arrested in August 2017 and falsely accused of crimes. He was systematically tortured during pre-trial detention. This may have had something to do with the fact that Al Fahsi had registered the murder with his smartphone, the smartphone with the evidence was confiscated by the police. During a show trial he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. This sentence also meant that he could not testify in the case of Imad El Attabi. Moroccan criminal law does not allow the testimony of a person with a criminal record. The harsh punishment also served as a deterrent to other witnesses and it was hoped to silence them.

Abdelhak Al Fahsi

Nabil Achahbar also witnessed the murder of El Attabi. Photos and videos show how this Riffian activist was abducted by several Moroccan agents with brute force. All this because he witnessed this political murder and together with others he carried El Attabi to the hospital. The Moroccan court sentenced him to fifteen months in prison and he was released in October 2018.

Nabil Achahbar

The previously mentioned nurse Najib Bouzambou, who was at the hospital when El Attabi arrived there, was given access to the X-ray photographs of Imad El Attabi showing the bullet in his head. Bouzambou was arrested by the Moroccan police on the afternoon of Sunday 13 August 2017 and taken to the police station where he was humiliated, scolded, beaten and abused by Arab-speaking executioners. Najib Bouzambou was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Najib Bouzambou

Younes Fathi, who was 20 years old at the time, had contact with the witness Abdelhak Al Fahsi who mentioned his name in the trial verbally. Fathi comes from the same region as Fahsi. For this reason Fathi was arrested in September 2017 and was convicted during a show trial for, among other things, taking part in an unauthorised demonstration, funding from abroad. Younes Fathi was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

Younes Fathi

In an interview the Moroccan Minister for Human Rights Mustapha Ramid denied in all tones that there had been deaths during the Rif protest movement (Hirak Rif). In fact, he denied that the Moroccan police who had been specially sent to the Rif had any ammunition at their disposal. That this is a huge lie is clear from a trial verbally drawn up by the judicial police following the fire in a police building in Imzoueren, where it is stated in black and white that this police unit had various weapons and types of ammunition at its disposal.

However, the King of Morocco Mohammed VI praised the bloody behaviour of his police officers in the Reef during his annual speech from the throne on 29 July 2017, more than a week after the death of Imad El Attabi. In doing so, he resolutely rejected all criticism of the police action.

The entire funeral ceremony of Imad El Attabi was directed by the Moroccan regime, nobody else had anything to say about it, including his family. Today, three years later, the actual cause of Imad El Attabi’s death has still not been made public, so no serious investigation has been done into it.

Link to video of El Attabi’s funeral (RIF/NL)

Link to video of Achehbar kidnapping

Link to translated speech from the throne King of Morocco, 29 July 2017 (EN/AR)

Link to full speech Mohammed VI on 29 July 2017 (English)

Translated by: Najat M.


The attack on the plane of the king of Morocco, 1972 (17 and last part)

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat.  The following year, air force officers committed a new coup.  This time King Hassan II’s plane, on its return from France, was attacked in the air by fighter jets.

Amazigh Information Centre has reconstructed this historic event using a series of 17 articles.  We have done this on the basis of testimonies from people who experienced this event, such as fighter pilot Salah Hachad, and on the basis of books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

King Hassan II made good use of the failed attack on him and used it against the soldiers he wanted to eliminate.  For example, in addition to imprisoning officers he did not trust, he retired a number of senior officers after the failed attack on Boeing 727.  The posts of Minister of Defence and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces were abolished in 1972.

Hassan II also used the failed coup against his subjects who are more than half illiterate and do not understand the ‘state languages’ of Morocco (Arabic and French).  Thus, through radio and television, he let it be known that as a person he possesses extraordinary powers and that God is on his side and therefore survived this second armed attack.  Because he is said to be a saint and a descendant of the prophet Mohamed.  He also sent his shelled Boeing 727 to Mecca for pilgrimage and after his return he personally received the Hadj Boeing.

Hassan II distinguishes his Boeing 727

The human factor played a role in the king’s escape from death.  The captain of King Hassan’s Boeing 727, his private pilot Major Mohamed Kabbaj was a fighter pilot and colleague of the attacking fighter pilots, so he received the same training, had technical knowledge of the F-5 fighters and he knew the qualities of the pilots and all this together enabled him to make a good analysis of the situation and to take the right action when the F-5 fired the first shots at the Boeing 727.

Mohamed Kabbaj

Kabbaj reportedly resigned from the Moroccan Air Force to work as a civilian pilot for the Moroccan national airline Royal Air Maroc RAM before Hassan II appointed him as his private pilot.  In the Moroccan Air Force he was listed as a good fighter pilot.

Other factors that contributed to a safe landing of the Royal Boeing: the altitude of the 727 and the distance to the airfield, if the airfield was further away there is a good chance that the Boeing 727 would not have made it to the runway.  When the Boeing was attacked by F-5’s it was 15 minutes away from the runway of Rabat-Sale airport.  General Oufkir had not given Colonel Amekrane space to deploy more armed fighters or to involve more people in the putsch.  At the very last moment the technicians were ordered to arm the three F-5 fighters.  The pilots did not have a briefing on the day of the coup about an air raid.

Coups don’t always succeed, even if they are carried out by powerful people in large organisations such as the KGB intelligence service.  In 1991, an attempted coup in the former Soviet Union, despite participation in this coup of among others the head of the KGB, Vladimir Kruchkov, and marshal Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazo failed.

But the coup d’état may benefit those in power, such as the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses this coup as an excuse to deal with his opponents.  And he has opened a manhunt for the Gülenists.  Many possible supporters of the Gülen movement have been fired or arrested.

The coups in neighbouring Morocco, Algeria, did not bring any positive change to the country after colonel Houari Boumédienne carried out a coup in 1965.  The same applies to Colonel Moammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, General Hafiz al-Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16


– American pilots underwind problems with the F-5 guns in the Vietnam War. Tijdschrift Militairespectator (Dutch)


– Oufkir, un destin marocain, 1999, Stephen Smith (French)

– Notre ami le roi (1990, Gallimard; 1992, Folio) – A friendly head of state, Hassan II of Morocco, absolute monarch (French/Dutch)

– Kabazal – Les Emmurés de Tazmamart: Mémoires de Salah et Aïda Hachad, 2004, Abdelhak Serhane (French)

– Aboubakr Jamai, le Journal, 2001 Les dessous des cartes du putsch de 1972 (French)

– European Convention on Human Rights Year: 1973, Council of Europe/Conseil de L’Europe (English)

– Historical Dictionary of Morocco, Thomas Kerlin Park, 1996 (English)

– Article about the 1972 coup, The New York Times, 1972 (English)


– Century Witness, Salah Hachad, Al Jazeera Arabic 2009 (Arabic)

– La Prisonniere, Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi, 1999 (French, English, Dutch)

– Les jardins du roi: Oufkir, Hassan II et nous, Fatima Oufkir, 2000 (French/Dutch)

– European Court of Human Rights ruling in the Amekrane case (French)


– https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbotx/7412786568/in/photostream/

– Livre blanc sur les droits de l’homme au maroc, 1991(French)

– Officers of Sa Majesté: Les dérives des généraux marocains 1956-2006, 2006, (French)

– Eighteen years of solitude: the imprisonment of the Bourequat brothers in Tazmamart.  1994, Ali-Auguste Bourequat (Dutch)

– Nancy Gatewood Touil, wife of a Mbarek Touil (English)


Burning of portrait of Mohammed VI and the Moroccan flag in Betz/Paris by Riffian republicans!

A dozen republican Riffians burned and trampled on the Moroccan flag and the portrait of King Mohammed VI on Sunday 19 January in Betz, northern France. Videos and photos were posted on social networks.

On the anniversary of the events of 19 January 1984, when thousands of Moroccans protested against the high cost of living, more than a dozen of Riffian republicans demonstrated in front of the castle of King Mohammed VI in Betz, northern France. They burned and trampled on the portrait of the sovereign as well as the Moroccan flag. Images broadcast on social networks triggered a wave of indignation. Similar events had already taken place in October in Paris, when Riffian independence activists burned the Moroccan flag.


Demonstrators calling themselves “opponents of the monarchical regime” chanted the slogan “Vive le Rif“, waving flags of the Rif republic.


On 19 January 1984, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets, particularly in the cities of Nador, Al Hoceima, Tetouan, Ksar El Kebir and Marrakech, to protest against the high cost of living and the country’s economic situation as part of a “revolt for bread and dignity”. After days of riots, the forces of law and order intervened harshly caused hundreds of deaths to restore control.


Similarly in Paris

During the demonstration organised by Riffians in Paris on Saturday 26 October to mark the third anniversary of the death of Mohcine Fikri, a fish merchant whose death sparked a social protest movement in the Rif in northern Morocco, “republicans” trampled on and burned the country’s flag.

They demanded “the independence of the Rif” from “Alawite colonialism [in reference to the Moroccan royal family, editor’s note]”, waving the flags of the “Rif Republic” founded by Mohamed ben Abdelkrim el-Khattabi in the 1920s.

Faced with this gesture, which triggered an outcry in the Cherif kingdom, the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad reacted firmly in a statement published on its official website, condemning a “childish” and “cowardly” act, which shows how much the kingdom was shocked by these acts and demonstrates its weak position. Also the regime and palace friendly news outlets like le360.ma came out with accusations and lies to condemn the flag burning, while not even daring to mention the reason of the sit-in!


2019 was a successful diplomatic year for Arif 

In December 2018, Nasser Zefzafi was one of the three finalists of the European Sakharov Prize. In the presence of Nasser Zefzafi’s parents, this was extensively discussed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 9, 10, 11 & 12 December 2018. The nomination of Nasser Zefzafi for the Sakharov Prize 2018 ensured, among other things, that the European institutions became familiar with the Rif case. 2019 is a year in which the European Riffians managed to have a structural presence in the highest European body, the European Parliament.

The working group behind Nasser Zefzafi’s nomination for the European Sakharov Prize organised itself into a newly established organisation: Freedom & Human Rights Organization. One of the first diplomatic successes of FHRO was the establishment of a group of friends within the European Parliament called; Friends of The Rif. This group of friends consists of MEPs from different European political groups and from different European countries. Together with FHRO they form the Friends of The Rif 2019-2024.

One of the first things the group of friends did was to send an official letter (3 April 2019) to the Minister of Justice Mohamed Aujjar in Morocco, urging the release of the Hirak prisoners. The letter was signed by 25 MEPs and one member of the European Council. Almost all Moroccan media reported on this letter, Morocco has never reacted to the letter. The group of friends also contacted Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the foreign and defence policy of the European Union, by means of an official letter signed by several MEPs, in which attention was drawn to the Hirak prisoners. The pressure on Morocco slowly started to take off.

FHRO started to contact different European institutions to increase the pressure on Morocco. A number of meetings were held with EEAS (European External Action Service). EEAS is the diplomatic organization of the European Union. It supports, for example, the High Representative for Foreign and Defence Policy in the implementation of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. On 19 February 2019, EEAS issued a warning regarding Moroccan spies in Brussels.

In February 2019 it was also announced that Nasser Zefzafi’s health was deteriorating. Miguel Urban Crespo, member of The Friends of The Rif, gave a passionate speech in the European Parliament on 13 February 2019 in which he drew attention to the health situation of Nasser Zefzafi. In the meantime, Morocco continued to isolate the Rif area. On 18 February 2019 the Dutch journalist of the NRC, Gerard van der Aa, was expelled from the Rif. On 16 March 2019 David Penefuerte Rendon was denied access to the Rif.

Meanwhile the group of friends started to get more and more structure and welcomed more and more MEPs. On 27 March 2019, the second meeting of the group of friends took place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The group of friends included Miguel Urban Crespo, Lola Sanchez, Ana Miranda Paz, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Bart Staes, Kathleen van Brempt, Helmut Scholz, Philippe Lamberts, Brendo Benefei, Florent Marcellesi, Kati Piri, Judith Sargentini, Anne-Marie Mineur and Bodil Valero.

The trials against the Hirak detainees ended in March 2019. FHRO had made contact with Juan Soroeta of AIODH in the weeks preceding the statements against the leaders of the Hirak prisoners. At the beginning of March 2019 agreements were made between FHRO and AIODH for international observers from AIODH to visit the Hirak trials, this took place on 6 March 2019. During this visit, the international observers spoke with the lawyers of the Hirak detainees, other international observers (ISLP) and family of the Hirak detainees. In April 2019, the leaders of the Riffian People’s Movement were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment ranging from 5 to 20 years. The indignation, anger and powerlessness was felt all over the world. Virtually all media in the world reported on these sebtences. MEPs of the group of friends strongly condemned these statements. Miguel Urban Crespo appeared on social media immediately after the convictions of the Hirak leaders to express his support and solidarity with the prisoners. In May 2019 the European elections were on the agenda, an exciting time for the group of friends. Who would come back after the elections? A number of MEPs within the group of friends had already indicated that they would not be going for another term in the European Parliament. FHRO supported the campaigns of the MEPs of the group of friends who went for re-election. FHRO organised a conference in Madrid on 12 April 2019 in cooperation with PODEMOS Spain. On 4 May 2019, FHRO organised a conference in Antwerp, together with MEPs from the European group S&D and the European group Green. At the end of May 2019, it became clear which MEPs had been re-elected.

Shortly after the European elections in May 2019, it became clear that Barts Staes, Anne Marie Mineur, Judith Sargentini, Lola Sanchez, Bodil Valero and Marie Christine Vergiat were no longer in the European Parliament and were therefore no longer part of the group of friends. FHRO used the period up to the summer holidays of 2019 to make contact with newly elected MEPs. In addition, contact was made with national politicians from the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium to discuss the situation of De Rif in the national parliaments of those countries. In the Netherlands, Germany and Spain questions were put to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs about the situation in the Rif.

The discussions that were held with the new MEPs began to get results. MEPs Tineke Strik, Pernando Barrena, Manuel Pineda Marin, Sira Rego, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Diana Riba Giner and Leila Chaibi joined the group of friends The Friends of The Rif shortly after the summer holidays. In the meantime contact was also made with Fourat ben Chikha, Belgian member of the Council of Europe.

ISLP, a group of international observers from America who had observed the trials of the Hirak prisoners in Casablanca, issued a damning report on these trials. FHRO presented and discussed this report to several MEPs in September, October and November 2019. The report will certainly be followed up in 2020.

On 10 September, the group of friends sent an official letter to David Maria Sassoli, the new President of the European Parliament. His predecessor Antonio Tajani, had expressed his support for Nasser Zefzafi and the Riffine People’s Movement. The letter asked whether the new President would continue along these lines. On 31 October 2019, President Sassoli replied to the letter. In it he stated that the European Parliament supports and supports the finalists of the Sakharov Prize. He also indicated that the new Euro-Morroccan Partnership for Shard Prosperity had been launched in June 2019. One of the structural issues on which this Partnership is based is ‘the convergence of values’ in which human rights and freedom of speech are important. He proposed that the Maghreb delegation of the European Union contact FHRO for this dossier. The President would forward the letter to this delegation and contact the head of this delegation, Mr. Cozzolino, to take up the matter. FHRO has since made initial contacts with the head of this Maghreb delegation. To be continued in 2020.

FHRO had made contact with APDHA, an NGO from Spain, before the summer holidays of 2019. This NGO was mainly concerned with the flow of refugees from North Africa. When the mass arrests in the reef area began, thousands of reefs fled to Spain. APDHA could clearly see this in the explosive increase in the number of refugees from the Reef area. FHRO, together with Rafael Lara of APDHA, drew up a manifesto, Manifesto pro el rif. This manifesto was presented to the European group GUE/NGL on 11 September 2019 at a group meeting to which APDHA and FHRO were invited. Together with APDHA, FHRO held several livestream sessions on social media for Rif refugees in which information was given on how to act upon arrival in Spain. In October 2019 it was announced that APDHA had nominated Nasser Zefzafi for the annual human rights award of this organisation.

The third meeting of The Friends of The Rif took place on 17 September 2019. This was a meeting with the assistants of the MEPs in which especially the organization of the Friends of The Rif was discussed. On 17 October 2019 the fourth meeting of The Friends of The Rif was on the agenda in the European Parliament in Brussels. During this meeting, FHRO presented various initiatives for the year 2020. 2019 was a year in which the European Reefs succeeded in having a structural presence in the highest European body. The foundations were laid for structural cooperation with MEPs to keep the topic of the Reef on the European agenda. There are several initiatives on the agenda in the coming months. Morocco will have to get moving anyway. Will Morocco choose for a solution or will they put the heels further in the sand? In any case, the group of friends will be ready for both scenarios until 2024.

A final message to the European diaspora from De Rif: Be proud of what we have achieved together in recent years. Few minority groups have conquered the streets of Europe for three years with demonstrations, sessions, meetings and demonstrations. We have been heard clearly in Europe in recent years. We have all conveyed the message loud and clear. We have to push on, push on, push on. Keep going, keep going, keep going and keep going. We are the people of Abdel Karim el Khattabi, we do not bow. It’s in our DNA. Our history was written by our ancestors, the European diaspora will make history again together with the Riffine People’s Movement.

Long live the Reef.


The attack on the plane of the king of Morocco 1972 (part 16)

Mohamed Amekrane together with his wife Malika Amekrane

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year, air force officers committed a new coup, this time King Hassan II’s plane, on its return from France, was attacked in the air by fighter jets.

In the coming period, the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historic event with short articles. We will do this on the basis of testimonies from persons who experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

The family of Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Amekrane
The widow of lt Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, Malika Amekrane (1939), left Morocco on 17 August 1972. Together with her two minor children, she went to live at a secret address in Germany for security reasons.
She filed a lawsuit against the English authorities. Her husband had applied for asylum in the English colony of Gibraltar, but within a day he was extradited to Morocco where he was sentenced to death. He was executed in January 1973. Mrs Amekrane was assisted by Mr Klaus Seelig, who is also a relative of hers.


Before the Colonel was executed, his wife wrote a letter to the English government immediately after his extradition to Morocco. The British ambassador in Bonn Nicholas Hendersen answered her with a telegram on 20 December 1972 in which he wrote that the English government had extradited lt Colonel Mohamed Amekrane to Morocco on condition that he would not be tortured or executed. The British ambassador also writes that his government has asked for guarantees from the Moroccan government.
At the time of these events lieutenant-colonel Amekrane had been seriously ill for a year. He suffered from a complicated kidney infection which, after treatment with cortisone, had affected his muscles and his joints in such a way that he could hardly move when he was extradited to Morocco. Even an officer on duty without medical training should have noticed that Amekrane could not walk normally.

After the sentence of death against Amekrane, his wife asked the English queen for mediation, the request remained unanswered, receipt was not even confirmed. Amekrane’s widow then brought an action against the United Kingdom before the European Court of Human Rights. Subsequently, the British government decided to pay damages “without admitting that Great Britain has violated the convention”. In exchange for an amount of £37,500, Mrs Amekrane waived further legal action.

Left: Rachid Amekrane

Her son Rachid Amekrane (1964) wanted to become a pilot, just like his father, he says to the German local newspaper Der Bremer Tageszeitung. But nothing came of it. His next dream job was a veterinarian. When that didn’t work, he turned to technology and graduated as an aerospace engineer. Since 1997 he has been freight manager at Astrium, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
Rachid Amekrane received the Förderkreis medal for his voluntary work with students of the so-called Summer Schools of European Universities at the 40th Annual Meeting of the International Space Association Hermann Oberth / Wernher von Braun in Dresden.

Right: Rachid Amekran

This article will be continued.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 15)

Omar el Khattabi, documentary by NPS, Abdel Krim: legend or freedom fighter? 1999

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Mohamed ben Abdelkrim Khattabi in La Réunion

Torture of Omar el Khattabi
Omar el Khattabi was born in 1926 on board the boat that took the whole family of Abdelkrim el Khattabi to the exile on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, almost nine thousand kilometres away from the Rif. Omar is a son of Abdeslam el Khattabi, uncle of the resistance hero Mohamed ben Abdelkrim Khattabi who founded the first Rif Republic in the 1920s. He was exiled after Spain, France and Morocco won the war against the Rif Republic. A battle in which the Rif was bombed on a large scale with poison gas.

Omar el Khattabi attended secondary school in La Réunion together with the lawyer, activist and anti-colonialist Jacques Vergès and Raymond Barre, who will become Prime Minister of France and with whom he has remained friends. Omar el Khattabi completed his medical studies in Switzerland and returned to Morocco in the early 1960s to settle there for good. He stayed in the city of Kenitra where he worked as a doctor, first in a state hospital, later he opened a private clinic where he met the Riffian officers Mohamed Amekrane and Louafi Kouera, with whom he became friends.

The Moroccan media claim that Omar el Khattabi would be appointed president, if the 1972 coup succeeded. An agreement would have been made with the Moroccan socialist party USFP to clear the way for a republic in Morocco after the coup of general Oufkir. However, there is no evidence to support this assertion, nor is there any credible testimony.

After the execution of his friends Amekrane and Kouera in January 1973, Omar el Khattabi financially supported Amekran’s widow and her children, who fled to the Federal Republic of Germany, through his friend ‘engineer Temsamani’ who acted as an intermediary. Lieutenant-Colonel Amekrane’s family received a monthly amount of money from the Riffians.

In May 1973 Omar el Khattabi was arrested together with his friend the ‘engineer Temsamani’ by the Moroccan police in Tiṭṭawin (Tetouan) on charges of attempting to blow up a number of locations. At the police station Derb Moulay Chrif in Casablanca, known as the secret detention centre, Omar Khattabi was physically and mentally tortured, he was hanged for more than three weeks, until he fell on his back. He broke his spine and hip. In 1974 he was released and placed under house arrest for a year, losing a lot of weight and being unable to walk for a while. He never recovered and will continue to suffer for the rest of his life.

In 1996, he founded the Abdelkrim el Khattabi Foundation for Studies, Research and Documentation: this organisation was never recognised by the Moroccan authorities. Omar el Khattabi died of an illness in 2006.

This article will be continued.
Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 14)

Last picture of Hassan II (left) in public together with the president of France Jacques Chirac. Paris 14 July 1999

In July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We do this on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

International pressure on sick king
The changes in world politics and the state of health of Hassan II played a role in the closure of Tazmamart.
The year 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, with the prospect of the end of the Cold War, which means that the Moroccan regime is no longer able to respond to the conflicting interests of the superpowers: the US and the Soviet Union. 

The book Notre Ami Le Roi (Our Friend the King) by Gilles Perrault

In 1990 the book Notre Ami Le Roi (Our Friend the King) was published by the author Gilles Perrault, who denounces the large-scale human rights violations in Morocco and devotes an entire chapter to Tazmamart entitled: The living dead of Tazmamart.

International human rights organisations bring Tazmamart to the fore, Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of former French President François Mitterrand, chairman of the France Libertés Foundation – the Danielle-Mitterrand Foundation has pleaded with Hassan II for the release of political prisoners in Morocco.

At the beginning of the 1990s, doctors announced to Hassan II that he was suffering from an incurable disease and this was one of the reasons for him to revise his political policy so that his son, the current King Mohamed VI, could follow him without interruption when he dies. In this way he pardoned all his opponents.

More than half of the prisoners dead
More than half of the prisoners of Tazmamart died in the dungeon and were buried in the courtyard without any religious Ritual, their remains were sprinkled with a chemical substance so that no traces remain. The survivors were taken to the Ahermoumou school for cadets in 1991 to have them treated and to erase the visible traces of Tazmamart on their bodies with food and medication.

The prisoners sentenced to 20 years in prison have been returned to the prison from which they were abducted 18 years ago, the Kenitra prison. To add to the suffering, the prison director reads to them the pardon of Hassan II.

Royal grace and threat
Other prisoners sentenced to less than 20 years have served much longer than their sentences, some of them have died in Tazmamart. This explains Colonel Ahmed Dlimi’s words on the day of the Kenitra court ruling: “There is no difference between three years and twenty years in prison, it is all the same“. The trial was just a show trial, the plan for the regime’s revenge on the prisoners.

The executioner of Tazmamart, Colonel Bouchaib Feddoul, warns the survivors on their release in a threatening tone: “Forget everything you saw there [Tazmamart]! We will give you proof of identity, but if you ever reveal anything, we will make you disappear forever“.

Ahmed Marzouki

Arrest after release
Army officer Ahmed Marzouki was arrested, threatened and intimidated again after his release from Tazmamart after the intelligence service found out that he wanted to publish a book together with a French writer. According to Marzouki, a university lecturer, who works as a supporter for the French writer, has reported him to the Moroccan secret service.
Marzouki was attacked by two people in Brussels in 2010. They beat up Marzouki and insulted him in Arabic. He was in Belgium to give a lecture on the theme of ‘reconciliation’ and human rights in Morocco.
Marzouki is the author of the French bestseller ‘Tazmamart, cellule 10’. 

This article will be continued

Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 13)


In July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We do this on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Kidnapping from prison to the hell of Tazmamart
On 7 August 1973, the military prisoners in the Kenitra prison were handcuffed and blindfolded and put into trucks. They were taken to Kenitra’s military airfield where they were thrown into planes. The first feeling the prisoners get is that they will be thrown into the sea, because they have heard stories about opponents of the regime who have been dumped into the sea. After about an hour and a half flight the planes land in the city of Imetgheren (Errachidia) in the desert. Then they were thrown into trucks again and then taken to a large building surrounded by high walls with watchtowers. They are locked in individual cells. The building contains two separate buildings, each with 29 cells, a total of 58.

Tazmamart, secret prison
Tazmamart is a secret prison in southeastern Morocco in the Atlas Mountains. It is located near the city of Er-Rich, between Errachida and Midelt. Tazmamart was built near a former French ammunition depot. For many years the Moroccan authorities have denied the existence of Tazmamart. Its existence has been widely denounced by human rights organisations and activists thanks to letters smuggled out of this prison.

Captain Salah Hachad and Lieutenant M’Barek Touil

Contact with the outside world
The captured pilot Salah Hachad managed to send a letter to his wife Aida through a guard at the end of the seventies. Hachad asked his fellow prisoner lieutenant M’Barek Touil to write a letter to his American wife asking him to leave Morocco and return to the United States to inform American politicians of the appalling conditions of her husband’s imprisonment in Tazmamart.

Nancy Gatewood Touil

Return to the United States
Nancy Gatewood Touil, M’Barek Touil’s wife, left Morocco with her son Amine and returned to Iowa where she has family. She was not allowed to leave the country so she left clandestinely and started a new life in the US where she raised the issue of her husband’s detention conditions in Morocco with American politicians. The American State Department was informed and the Moroccan regime was put under pressure by the US.

This led to results: in 1982 M’Barek Touil was medically treated in a mobile hospital that was brought to Tazmamart. He was brought to Rabat for questioning by the colonel of the gendarmerie, Bouchaïb Feddoul, who promised him good treatment. From 1983 onwards, M’Barek Touil received his rights as a prisoner, such as normal food, blankets and a mattress, and he was allowed to air outside. All the other prisoners are held in concrete isolation cells without light, no daylight or artificial light, without a bed, without any care, with hardly any food, drinks, clothes and hermetically separated from the outside world.

Salah and Aïda Hachad

Daughter of Tazmamart prisoner speaks to the king
Salah Hachad’s wife and the other prisoners feel contempt and pain when they find out that M’Barek Touil has obtained his rights because he is married to an American woman. Some prisoners who had American girlfriends felt sorry that they didn’t marry them, as in the case of Lieutenant Mohamed Zemmouri had American girlfriend but didn’t marry her. Aïda Hachad, Salah Hachad’s wife, decided to tell her story to the king in person.

King Hassan II loved to play golf and had a large golf course built at Rabat: the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam. Aïda received a tip that the best opportunity to meet the king is when he is playing golf. She went there in 1986 with her 15-year-old daughter Houda. Aïda was able to come to the golf course because she had blue eyes and looks like a European tourist, mother and daughter spoke French to each other and the guards thought they were tourists who wanted to see the king play golf. When the king had finished playing golf, Houda went running towards him, the guards chased her to stop her, the king said they could let her. Houda gave Hassan II a letter and told him that she is the daughter of Captain Salah Hachad who is imprisoned in Tazmamart and that his family knows nothing about him.

Houda Hachad

Houda Hachad: “I am the daughter of Salah Hachad, an officer convicted of the 1972 coup. I hope Your Majesty will pardon him. I surprised him [Hassan II] with my letter and my action. He jumped up when he heard the word Tazmamart, he thought I was coming for a pitiful problem or social support. I realized that he knew of the existence of Tazmamart when he turned to one of his companions and asked him: are there still living in Tazmamart? He asked me to stop crying and said that he could not speak to me in front of his guests, he asked me: go with these people, they will take you to the palace, so that we can talk at ease. They took me to a small room with a table and two chairs. I was questioned there by detectives. Hassan II did not get there, he promised something to a child, and he did not keep his promise. He didn’t learn to make a promise only if you can keep it. I want to tell you, my mother, that you are not alone and tell you, my father, that you are not the only victim of Tazmamart, we are all victims of Tazmamart. The whole Moroccan people are victims of Tazmamart”.

This article is to continued

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-13-6d1643933525

Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 12)

Boeing of the King of Morocco after the emergency landing. AFP

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

An execution during the Second World War

The execution of eleven people on an Islamic holiday
For the execution of the death penalty, the choice was made for the day of an Islamic holiday: the Feast of Sacrifice or the ‘Great Feast’, which falls on 13 January 1973. Eleven people were shot by the firing squad on the firing range of the airbase in Kenitra. Below is the rank, name, age and family situation of the soldiers who were killed:
1- Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, 39 years old, father of two children.
2- Major El Ouafi Kouira, 38 years old, father of two children.
3- Captain El Hadj Larabi, 35 years old, father of three children.
4- Lieutenant Abdelkader Ziad, 35 years old, father three children.
5- Lieutenant Ahmed Boukhalif, 27 years old.
6- Second lieutenant Lyazid El Midaoui, 39 years old, father of six children.
7- Adjutant Abdelkader Mehdi, 33 years old, father of two children.
8- Sergeant Tahar Bahraoui, 25 years old.
9- Sergeant Larbi Binou, 29 years old.
10- Sergeant Ahmed Belkacem, 28 years old, father of two children.
11- Adjutant Abderrahman Kamoun, 25 years old.
*The age and spelling of the names of some of the executed soldiers vary by source.

Execution platoon of the soldiers of Ahermoumou in 1971

The execution of Kenitra was not broadcast on Moroccan state television like that of the soldiers of Ahermoumou in 1971. At the scene of the execution, Lieutenant Lyazid El Midaoui encouraged his friends, calling them to be brave and to die courageously. Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Amekrane asked Captain El Hadj Larabi for forgiveness, he replied, “It is a great honor to die with you. Amekrane had to shed a tear, which his lawyer Farouki noticed and asked him why he was crying. Amekrane replied, “I am crying because these innocent people will be executed”.

Kenitra’s condemned soldiers did not fall into the same trap as Ahermoumou’s. The latter was told that the death sentence would not be carried out in the event that they called out “long live the king” at the place of execution. A few of them fell for it and shortly before the order was given to the firing squad to shoot: long live the king. They were shot just like the rest. A few of those present said that they had died a cowardly death. The soldiers of Kenitra did not ask for the king’s forgiveness and did not wish him a long life.

The families of the executed were allowed to take the bodies of their loved ones for the funeral under the watchful eye of the cameras of the intelligence services. Even the dead have not been respected; the family of Amekrane and Kouera were forbidden to bury them in the cemetery of the city of Chaouen: they are buried in a forest, alone and far away from the cemetery. It was also forbidden for people to attend the funeral. Amekrane’s wife would later demand that he be reburied at the city’s cemetery. She dropped this demand after more and more people were buried next to Mohamed Amekrane and El Ouafi Kouira.

This article is to be continued.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 11)

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Court martial in Kenitra

The court ruling
It was decided to pronounce the court verdict on an islamic holiday: the end of the Ramadan feast or the ‘Little Feast’, which falls on 7 November 1972. Eleven people were sentenced to death: 1- Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, 2- Major Louafi Kouera, 3- Captain Larabi El Haj, 4- Lieutenant Ziad Abdelkader, 5- Lieutenant Boukhalif Abdel Hamid, 6- Second Lieutenant El Yazid Midaoui, 7- Adjutant El Mahdi Abdelali, 8- Adjutant El Bahraoui Tahar, 9- Sergeant Binoi Larbi, 10- Adjutant Belkacem Ahmed, 11- Adjutant Kamoun Abderrahman.

Thirty-two people receive prison sentences ranging from three to twenty years, including: Salah Hachad, M’barek Touil, Zemmouri Mohamed, Allal Oulhaj, M’faddel Maghouti, Mohamed Dahho, Mohamed Doukali, Ahmed Ben Boubker, Ahmed Louafi, Batoui, Laidi, Benaissa Rachidi, Sbika, Zyane, Raji, Radi, Demnatte, Kasem Bahraoui, Yekko, Abdelkarim, Mesbah, Haddane, Bouamalate, Larbi Zyane, Chemsi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi, right Mohamed Oufkir, Rabat, October 1965 / AFP

Maghouti, one of the suspects, was sentenced to three years in prison by the court, but his name is on the list of prisoners sentenced to 20 years. His lawyer raises this issue and asks the court for redress. Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, one of the members of the court, has the following reaction: “Stop it, there is no difference between three years or twenty years of imprisonment, it is all the same“. Later in this story it will become clear what Colonel Dlimi means by this. Ahmed Dlimi (1931-1983) is an aide to King Hassan II. He becomes director of the secret service after the death of Oufkir. He died in 1983 under very suspicious circumstances.

Captain Salah Hachad, Al Jazeera 2009

Air Force pilot Salah Hachad declares towards Al Jazeera that on the day of the verdict he saw a crying guard (a gendarme) when he entered the courthouse. When Hachad stood next to him, the guard whispered in his ear: “You have been sentenced to 20 years”. Hachad wondered how the guard could have known this, even though the judge had not yet pronounced a verdict.

The convicts were all taken to Kenitra prison, in a wing reserved for those sentenced to death. They are placed with the prisoners who have been sentenced to death for crimes. The imprisoned military personnel are not allowed to receive visitors, even from their family members. Salah Hachad’s wife gave birth to her second child during the imprisonment of her husband. Salah Hachad is told by his lawyer that he has become a father again.

Mohamed Amekrane, Al Jazeera 2009
Louafi Kouera

The prisoners are told that they will be pardoned by the king. On January 9, 1973, the gendarmerie, led by Lieutenant Fadoul, entered the prison and took Kouera and Amekrane to an unknown destination. Later, it will appear that they were taken to Hassan II in Rabat. After two days of absence, they were returned to the prison in Kenitra around three o’clock in the morning. The fellow prisoners hear that Kouera and Amekrane are in enormous pain: they have been severely tortured for two days, says fellow pilot and fellow prisoner captain Salah Hachad to Al Jazeera in 2009. Kouera shouts to Amekrane: “Why? Why didn’t you tell him [Hassan II] what he wanted to hear? When he asked you questions and promised to release us? You are the cause…” But Amekrane did not answer, either to Hassan II or to his friend Kouera.

Perhaps Hassan II wanted a confession from Amekrane that political parties are involved in the coup attempt. On the day of the execution of the coupleggers, three prominent members of the Moroccan political parties M’hamed Douiri, Omar Benjelloun and Mohamed Elyazghi were sent bomb letters. Mohamed Elyazghi escaped death and had to be operated on, he will carry the visible mutilation of the bomb all his life.

Hassan II liked people to ask him for forgiveness. Shortly before the trial of the soldiers of Ahermoumou the following order was given to his closest associates: “Condemn the soldiers to the maximum punishment and then leave to me the choice to grant their pardon”. After Amekrane was sentenced to death, he did not ask Hassan II for a pardon. That hit the king hard, as if Amekrane had committed a second attack against Hassan II.

This article is continued.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-11-379dd70ed82f

Translated by: Najat M.

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