By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 2/14/2006 | 3:44 pm
Morocco has categorically denied the stories run by the British weekly, The Sunday Times, and the Belgian daily, Le Soir, which reported on a would-be plan to build a secret prison in Morocco on behalf of the American intelligence Agency (CIA), MAP news agency reported.
The stories, published by the British and Brussels' papers respectively on February 12 and 13, are "pure allegations, devoid of any basis," said, on Monday, a release of the Ministry of Interior.
The Sunday Times reported that the US is helping Morocco to build a new interrogation and detention facility for al-Qaeda suspects near its capital, Rabat, quoting western intelligence sources. It also reported that the building was under way at Ain Aouda, above a wooded gorge south of Rabat's diplomatic district.
The Ministry of Interior criticized the two papers for lacking evidence. “Without backing up their sayings by any evidence, the papers affirm that Morocco, assisted by the US, would be building a "new detention and interrogation center," in Ain Aouda, near Rabat, said the communiqué.
The ministry added that the Belgian daily, Le Soir, claims that the military base of Ben Guerir, about 60 km north of Marrakech (South Morocco), will also be a potential secret detention devoted to terrorists linked to al-Qaeda.
Addressing the message to the national and international public opinion, the ministry's release recalled that Morocco, in its war against terrorism, respects the state of law and the rights and civil liberties of individuals and groups, in conformity with the international human rights code.
The release stressed that the Moroccan authorities, which are profoundly shocked and outraged at these allegations, reserve the right to undertake all the necessary measures to restore the complete truth."
The publication of the said allegations coincided with the visits of US FBI director, Robert Mueller, and the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to Morocco, who came to discuss security cooperation in the fight against terrorism.