‘Scandalous invention of lies’: Morocco goes ballistic over US human rights report

© Cris Toala Olivares
The Moroccan Interior Ministry has expressed outrage at the US State Department’s report on human rights in its country, which it says is based on unreliable sources and contains outright “lies.” The North African US ally warns it is “prepared to go to the end” to defend its record.

The American report “went from approximation of information to pure and simple invention, from erroneous appreciation to lies,” the state MAP agency cited the Interior Ministry as saying.

The ministry said the sources used to compile the report were “unreliable” and “politically hostile.”

Morocco was referencing the State Department’s human rights report, which is published country-by-country every year. Despite the kingdom’s cooperation it says the report chose to use information from “a few individuals with no credibility, or a handful of Moroccans known for years for their aversion to the regime.”

The latest issue of the 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Morocco was released on April 13 and cited corruption and lack of respect for the rule of law by security forces as the main problems in Morocco.

The State Department cited an Amnesty International review in the report that said “an array of torture techniques are used by Moroccan security forces to extract confessions ... silence activists and crush dissent.”

The US report also stated that “systematic and pervasive corruption undermined law enforcement and the effectiveness of the judicial system [in Morocco], adding that “impunity was pervasive” with no credible statistics on prosecutions of corrupted officials.

Moreover, judicial decisions “appeared predetermined” when it came to the topics of monarchy, security and Islam.

In reaction to the report, the North African kingdom said that it is even ready to take up the matter with the “highest authorities in the [various] national American institutions.”

READ MORE: US 'routinely' violates judicial rights, fails to punish torture - HRW

“Morocco wants no more evasive responses, but precise case-by-case answers,” Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said, adding that it they are “prepared to go to the end,” and explore “all possible paths” to get to the truth behind the report’s errors.

Hassad has held a meeting with the US Ambassador Dwight Bush to discuss the issue. So-called “technical working sessions” were also held with US embassy officials, according to the ministry. However, no understanding was reached, AP reported.

Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman John Kirby maintained that the information in the report on Morocco had been verified.

“The Department of State stands by the information contained in the 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Morocco,” AP quoted Kirby as saying.

In April, Russia also slammed the US global human rights reports.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights chief, Konstantin Dolgov, said that the State Department’s report was based on “on ideology-driven clichés and biased assessments” and was presented in “an unacceptable, didactic manner.”