Dutch slam 'unnecessary' extradition row with Morocco

2017-06-25 16:02


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The Hague - The Netherlands reacted coolly on Sunday after Morocco summoned its ambassador home in a row about the extradition of an alleged drug trafficker, saying comments by Rabat were "incomprehensible and unnecessary".

Morocco said late Saturday it has been in talks with Dutch officials in the past two days urging them to extradite "a notorious drug trafficker" who allegedly funds "some groups in northern Morocco".

It had demanded "concrete and urgent measures," and had decided to immediately recall its ambassador for consultations, stressing his return would depend on how the case develops.

But the Dutch foreign and justice ministries voiced bafflement about the situation.

"The Netherlands is committed now and in the future to an effective collaboration with Morocco based on international legal frameworks and the protection of the rule of law," they said in a joint statement.

"In that light, the Moroccan statement is incomprehensible and unnecessary."

While the man at the centre of the row was not officially named, a senior Moroccan government source and Dutch media named him as former Moroccan lawmaker, Said Chaou.

Chaou backs independence for Morocco's Rif region, hit by weeks of protests and has reportedly posted messages online in support of demonstrators demanding an end to corruption and jobs for the mainly Berber area.

Moroccan officials said two international arrest warrants had been issued against him, including one in 2010.

According to a second 2015 warrant, Chaou was living in The Netherlands and was accused of corruption and drug trafficking. Moroccan authorities allege he trafficked several tonnes of cannabis into Europe.

He was reportedly arrested in 2015 in the southern Dutch town of Roosendaal as part of a crackdown on a drug network, the Dutch broadcaster NOS said Sunday.

But his current whereabouts remain unclear, and the Dutch justice ministry said it "could not discuss individual cases".

According to the Moroccan embassy website in The Hague, Abdelouahab Bellouki has been his country's envoy in The Netherlands since 2013.

Read more on:    morocco  |  netherlands  |  north africa

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