MOROCCO

Ben Barka incinerated near Paris, says author

A French author, Georges Fleury, says secret police documents reveal that the body of Moroccan activist Mehdi Ben Barka was incinerated in the Essonne, south of Paris, after he was abducted in the French capital in 1965.

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REUTERS - The body of Mehdi ben Barka, an opponent of Morocco’s King Hassan II who was abducted in Paris in 1965, was burnt in Essonne, south of the French capital, author Georges Fleury told the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Fleury was given secret police documents on the Mehdi ben Barka affair 25 years ago, the former marine commando told the paper in an interview to be published on Sunday.

The person who handed over the dossier was convinced that his body was incinerated in Essonne, Fleury said.

“In any case, for me, that is what happened, I believe a lot in this lead. Was it looked into at the time? Can it be verified today? I ask myself the question,” Fleury was quoted as saying.

Mehdi ben Barka, a hero for the international left, was kidnapped in broad daylight in front of the smart Lipp restaurant in the heart of Paris and his fate remains unknown.  French investigators believe he was tortured and killed.

The case has been a cause celebre for Moroccan advocates of greater political freedom in the kingdom, but it remains politically sensitive in Rabat, where Hassan’s son Mohammed succeeded him as king in 1999.

France issued international arrest warrants on Oct. 2 for four Moroccans over the abduction but later suspended them, citing a request for information from Interpol, the international police organisation.

Fleury said he had since lost contact with his source and was ready to had over the documents in his possession to prosecutors if they asked him.

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