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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Un meurtre sans cadavre

by Hassane Zerrouky

Murder Without a Body

Translated Saturday 7 November 2015, by Henry Crapo

Fifty years after the disappearance in Paris of the third-world activist, Mehdi Ben Barka, opponent of King Hassan II, the battle for truth continues.

Followed and spied upon because of his militant activity, Mehdi Ben Barka, 45 years of age, who had taken refuge in the residence of the Algerian Consul in Geneva, fell into a veritable trap set for him. He had come to Paris on 29 October 1965 at the invitation of journalist Phillippe Bernier, in the context of the film "Basta", to be made concerning the peoples’ liberation movement. The journalist, a "friend" of the hoodlum Georges Figon, one the future kidnappers, made the rendezvous at the Brasserie Lipp, Blvd Saint-Germain, for the opponent of King Hassan II. On information provided by Antoine Lopez, station chief at Orly airport, and in fact an agent of the SDECE (former DGSE [1]), Ben Barka, accompanied by a student, Thami Aemmouri, was arrested in front of the brasserie by policemen Louis Souchon and Roger Voitot. The student is set free, and Ben Barka gets into an unmarked car in which he finds Julien Le Ny, one of the hoodlums recruited by the Moroccan services. He is driven to Fontenay-le-Vicomte, to the house of another crook, Georges Boucheseiche. They were then joined by the Commandant Dlimi, head of Moroccan security, by general Oufkir, Minister of the Interior, and by other Moroccan agents, among whom Miloud Tounsi, Mohamed Achaachi and Boubker Hassouni, nicknamed "the nurse". Tortured in the presence of General Oufkir, Ben Barka apparently died during the night of 29 to 30 October, some hours after his kidnapping. What followed? Various hypotheses have been advanced, among them that the body was transported to Morocco, or that it was incinerated at the place of the crime.

The majority of the protagonists [2] were then physically liquidated

The decision to kidnap Mehdi Ben Barka, founder of the National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP), seems to have been taken at a meeting, on 25 March 1965, between King Hassan II and heads of the security system of the kingdom. The Moroccan opposition leader, who militated for "the abolition of the feudal and personal regime" in Morocco, caused the monarch to fear. Already, on 16 November 1962, the king had escaped an attack. On 16 July 1963, after the King Hassan II had declared a state of siege, Ben Barka took refuge in Algeria, and was followed there soon after by his wife and children. And when the "Sand War" broke out between Algeria and Morocco in October 1963, he denounced the "war of aggression" against Algeria, and called for solidarity with the "Algerian revolution". On 22 November, he was condemned to death, absent from trial, for plotting and attempting assassination of the king. Algiers, (where he met Che Gevara and Amilcar Cabral), Cairo, Rome, Geneva, and Havana were high points on his itinerary. A militant internationalist, Ben Barka, who presided over the preparatory committee for the first Tricontinental congress, to be held in Havana in January 1966, worked to federate the revolutionary movements. "The two currents of world revolution will be represented: the current flowing from the October Revolution, and that of the national liberation revolution", he explained, before his abduction.

Fifty years later, the affair of Ben Barka has still seen no judicial follow-up. His body has never been found. The Moroccan services aside, the inquiry, which was not entirely unveiled, and the trial that followed, which revealed the implication of several actors, secret agents, French police and hoodlums, in the abduction and disappearance of the Moroccan opposition leader, [left most questions unanswered]. Even the Mossad played a role in the affair. The inquest set up called for testimony by General Oufkir, commandant Dlimi, the head of Moroccan security, the agent Miloud Tounsi, the secret ex-agent Antoine Lopez and the hoodlum Georges Figon as principal actors in this sordid affair. At the trial of 5 September 1966, there were only six persons charged: Georges Figon was missing, "suicided" on 17 January, the student Azemmouri and the General Oufkir, absent by orders of the King Hassan II; on the final day of the trial the commandant Dlimi turned himself in. He would be acquitted on 17 April 1967, thanks to the testimony of a taxi driver. Antoine Lopez is condemned to eight years in prison, and policeman Souchon to six years. Oufkir is condemned, absent from the trial, to life imprisonment. Since then, with the exception of Antoine Lopez and of several Moroccan agents still living, such as General Benslimane, head of the gendarmerie, the majority of protagonists have been physically liquidated. The student Thami Azemmouri is officially "suicided" in 1971 in Paris. General Oufkir is also "suicided" during a failed coup d’état against Hassan II in 1972. The crooks Boucheseiche, Le Ny and Dubail, in refuge in Morocco, were killed between October and November 1974. As for Commandant Dlimi, he died in an automobile accident in 1983.

Fifty years later, not only the items missing from the dossier, but also all the international legal complaints against Morocco have remained dead letters, just as have all the international warrants for arrest for the head of the gendarmerie, General Hosni Benslimane, and the ex-head of the secret services, General Abdelhak Kadiri. Today [3] at 18h, at the call of several organisations, the PCF among them, an assembly in memory of Ben Barka will take place in front of the Brasserie Lipp.

[1French foreign intelligence service.

[2Translator’s comment: "antgonists", rather?

[329 October 2015

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