Lawyers for a jailed Moroccan journalist Taoufik Bouachrine on Friday urged a UN special rapporteur to request that authorities release his phone, to retrieve an “exchange of messages” with murdered Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. A Moroccan court sentenced Bouachrine 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. Bouachrine has described his convictions as politically motivated. A UN Human Rights Council working group reported in January that Bouachrine was the victim of “arbitrary detention” and “judicial harassment”.
“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 detained journalist’s lawyers said in a statement.
Khashoggi—a contributor to the Washington Post and a critic of the Saudi government—was killed and dismembered in October at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul by a team of 15 agents sent from Riyadh. His body has not been recovered.
Bouachrine has said that his phone “contains messages from Jamal Khashoggi warning him of existing threats against him”, the statement added.
It cited messages exchanged between October 2017 and January 2018 as likely to be of particular relevance to the special rapporteur’s investigation.
Earlier. Washington Post reported that some members of the team that brutally killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi received training in the United States.
After having denied the murder, Saudi Arabia said the operation was carried out by agents who were out of control. A trial of 11 suspects opened earlier this year in Saudi Arabia. But much of the case remains shrouded, beginning with the role of country’s powerful crown prince and de facto ruler Salman.