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.
The criminal trial
During the Skhirat coup attempt in 1971, 10 people were executed the next day for alleged involvement in the failed coup. In this coup attempt, the Moroccan regime was forced to hold a trial for the suspects on the condition of Britain for extraditing Amekrane and el-Midaoui.
Victims among the members of the court
The trial against the conspirators had already been framed before the start: it should not have a political turn, it should be treated as a crime and it should remain that way. The trial was opened on October 17, 1972 before the permanent court of the Royal Forces in Kenitra, there were two hundred and twenty men in the dock, all of them officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers from the air force base of Kenitra. Most of them had just executed the orders.
At the first session, lawyers of the suspects asked for the challenge of two members of the court: Colonel Ahmed Dlimi and Lieutenant Colonel Boubker Skirrej, both passengers of the attacked Boeing. That already questions the independence of the court. The request for challenge was rejected by the court.
Lt. Col. Amekrane is brave in spite of a real risk of death penalty
When asked by the court why Amekrane committed a coup against the king, he replies: “What Oufkir told me about what is going on in the king’s palace I would conspire against the king, even though if he was my own father“.
During the trial there was a film crew in the courtroom who filmed the trial but it was not known what the purpose of the video recording was. During the trial, the suspects heard the phone ring, which may indicate that the members of the court are being instructed.
In the course of the trial, François Mennelet, the special reporter of the French daily Le Figaro in Kenitra, Morocco, was deported. His always well-documented articles had displeased the palace.
Role of the United States
The role of the US, which was briefly mentioned and was quickly put aside by the president. No further questions could be asked about this. But outside the courthouse this happens all the more emphatically. Undoubtedly, General Medbouh (1927-1971) had been the CIA man in Morocco. Oufkir also maintained close and old contacts with the American secret service. The F-5s had taken off in Kenitra under the eyes of the Americans who had seen the attack on their radar, there was no other way. There are indications, but no evidence.
The American personnel at the Kenitra base turned on the runway lighting when the six F-5 hunters taxi to attack the Rabat Palace, but on landing, after the attack, they have switched off the lighting on the runway and the pilots have landed on the lights of their aircraft. Two American planes were then flown from Kenitra to Spain with perhaps intelligence staff on board. Hundreds of Americans and their families are stationed at the Kenitra base.
Role of France
Whether France had a role in the failed coup is unknown. Morocco is a former colony of France. It has strong economic and political ties with Morocco. France still provides advisers for the Moroccan army. General Oufkir was formed by France in the colonial era. He fought under the French flag in the Second World War and the first Indochinese War. Oufkir was part of the French officials in Morocco during the colonial era.
This article will be continued.
Translated by: Najat M.