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Germany arrests Moroccan citizen for alleged espionage

November 14, 2022

German prosecutors said the suspect was allegedly working with Rabat's intelligence service and was believed to have spied on a Moroccan protest movement.

With graphic posters and signs some thousands of Moroccans protest against the death of Mouhcine Fikri last Friday, in the northern city of Hoceima in Rabat, Morocco, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016.
The arrested suspect is believed to have spied on a Moroccan protest movement which erupted in the country's impoverished north in 2016Image: Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP Photo/picture alliance

A German judge remanded in custody on Monday a Moroccan national suspected of spying on fellow Moroccans residing in Germany who are part of a movement opposed to their country's authorities.

The man, identified only as Mohamed A. as per Germany's privacy rules, was arrested on Monday in the western city of Cologne, Germany's federal prosecutor's office said in a statement. His premises were also searched.

Why was the man arrested?

The office said he is "strongly suspected of having worked for a Moroccan intelligence service" during the period between mid-April 2021 and March 2022.

"He shared information on at least one person," the office said.

The suspect is alleged to have spied on supporters of the HIRAK movement. 

HIRAK is a Moroccan protest movement which erupted in late 2016 in the northern, impoverished Rif area, after a hawker was crushed to death in a garbage truck when he tried to retrieve the fish he was selling from the police.

The movement's leader, Nasser Zefzafi, was later arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Morocco: Thousands demonstrate for release of protest leader

rmt/fb (AFP, AP, dpa)