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Bouachrine’s lawyers urge a UN rapporteur to read messages Jamal Khashoggi sent him

Jailed Moroccan journalist Taoufik Bouachrine. / Ph. DR
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In a letter addressed to the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, lawyers for jailed Moroccan journalist Taoufik Bouachrine said that the phone of their client must be retrieved, AFP reports.

The lawyers urged the UN rapporteur, Friday, to try and convince the Moroccan authorities into releasing Bouachrine’s phone, which reportedly contains an «exchange of messages» he had with Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.   

«Arbitrarily detained Moroccan journalist Taoufik Bouachrine's defence urges Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur to make a request to the Moroccan authorities for access to Bouachrine's phone», the journalist’s lawyers said in a statement relayed by the French news agency.

The letter was sent to Callamard, who is conducting an independent inquiry into Khashoggi’s case. The latter disappeared in October 2018 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

According to the same source, Bouachrine’s phone, which was confiscated by the authorities following his arrest, «contains messages from Jamal Khashoggi warning him of existing threats against him».

These messages might help the UN rapporteur in her investigation, as they were sent between October 2017 and January 2018, AFP added.

Bouachrine’s lawyers revealed that Khashoggi told the Moroccan journalist in his messages that he is in danger because of «the many articles he (Bouachrine) had published that were critical of Saudi Arabia and (Crown Prince) Mohammed bin Salman».

Moreover, he reportedly told him «not to travel to Saudi Arabia, and also alerted him that he was in danger of being killed even in Morocco's capital Rabat».

For the record, Taoufik Bouachrine, who owns newspaper Akhbar Alyaoum, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in November 2018 after he was «found guilty of human trafficking, abuse of power for sexual purposes, rape and attempted rape».

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