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