French lawyers detained arbitrarily in Casablanca and expelled from Moroccan territory

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We, Ingrid METTON and Olfa OULED, lawyers at the Paris bar association, express our deepest indignation at the new infringement of our profession and the obstruction of the exercise of the rights of the defense.

As advocates for the protection of Saharawi prisoners, we traveled to Morocco to visit our clients on their cassation appeal after their conviction by the Rabat Court of Appeal on July 19, 2017.

Yesterday, Monday, February 12, 2018, we were approached on the descent of our plane in Casablanca at 20h40. Our passports were confiscated. We were detained without cause, justification and without notice until 2pm the following day before we were expelled from the territory.

For more than 18 hours, we were placed under police escort in the international zone of Casablanca airport and left without information.

This arbitrary detention can not be challenged by our Moroccan colleagues in the absence of any written decision. We have not received a visit from the competent authorities, including the consular authorities.

For the third time in this matter, the Moroccan authorities have kept us from exercising the core of our profession: the Defense.

In fact, in April 2016, Mrs. METTON had already been arrested at her hotel and arbitrarily detained at the police headquarters in Rabat and expelled without any legal framework.

In May 2017, we were both violently expelled by the police of the Rabat Court of Appeal in full exercise of our duties as advocates appointed for the defense. Mrs. OULED was injured during this attack.

All our complaints in France have been closed to date.

Our clients, meanwhile, can no longer receive visits from their lawyers. They are thus incapable of preparing their defense.

We reaffirm that defense should be exercised freely for all and in all places. We carry within us this founding principle of the profession of lawyer and we will not stop defending it, all over the world.

Ingrid METTON and Olfa OULED