We spies, we slow hands
Interpol will put out an arrest warrant for four Moroccans for the “disappearance” of Mehdi ben Barka. (UPDATE! No they won’t. See comments.) The Ben Barka case has been a Moroccan national trauma since 1965, but it’s about much more than just history and justice. One of the men accused of involvement is Gen. Hosni Benslimane, who has since become a top figure in the Moroccan military and is today probably one of the most powerful men in the country. Reuters:
A French Justice Ministry spokesman said on Friday four arrest warrants had been sent to Interpol, the international police organisation, and would now be issued worldwide.
Those targeted are: Hosni Benslimane, head of the powerful Adarak el Malaki, or Royal Gendarmerie, for more than four decades; Abdelkader Kadiri, a former head of intelligence; and Miloud Tounsi and Abdelhak Achaachi, two ex-agents.
As a bonus, we get one of the least convincing explanations I’ve ever heard:
The four arrest warrants date back to 2007, when they were issued by a French investigating magistrate. The warrants immediately caused diplomatic tensions, with newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to Morocco at the time.
The warrants were shelved until they were finally handed to Interpol last month. Asked why it had taken so long, the Justice Ministry spokesman said it was a “technical delay”.
Better 44 years late than never, though, since this has long since turned into a race against the clock. As Time Magazine reported, already back in 1975, Ben Barka witnesses are famously short-lived:
Since Ben Barka’s death, at least 37 people connected with the case have disappeared; some are known to have died violently. Oufkir reportedly committed suicide after the failure of an assassination plot against King Hassan in 1972. Two French operatives were murdered; a third, according to official reports, committed suicide as police moved in to pick him up for questioning. Villa Owner Boucheseiche, meanwhile, disappeared shortly after the murder and has never been seen again.