Police chief executed for rape

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The Independent Online
RABAT (AP) - A former Casablanca police commissioner was executed at dawn yesterday for forcing more than 500 women and young girls into sexual acts that he videotaped. Mohamed Mustafa Tabet was shot by firing squad after final judicial appeals were rejected last Thursday, the Justice Ministry said.

Tabet, convicted in March, held the key role in a sex-crimes scandal dubbed 'Tabetgate,' the biggest trial of its kind in Morocco. Seventeen others, including three Casablanca police commissioners, were jailed.

An investigation showed that Tabet, 54, had lured or forced more than 500 women and girls into an apartment he kept for sexual exploits. Investigators found 118 video cassettes made over several years with cameras hidden in the bedroom walls.

The 18 women who testified behind closed doors in the month-long trial said they were taken to the apartment 'by force, ruse or threat' and subjected to 'the most atrocious sexual cruelty'. Tabet, who has two wives and five children, claimed the women all consented.

Tabet's numerous charges included rape, defloration, kidnapping, use of violence to detain a married woman, indecency, barbaric acts with intent to commit a crime, indecency, inciting debauchery, damaging property and the use of violence while carrying out official functions.

The court sentenced Tabet's immediate superior, Aahmed Ouachi, to a life sentence for trying to shield his subordinate before and during the investigation of the case. Two other commissioners, Abdessalam Bekkali and Mustafa Benmaghnia, convicted of falsification, obstructing justice and failure to denounce a crime, were sentenced to 20 and 10 years, respectively.

Eight police officers were sentenced to three years in prison, five civilians were given 10 years and a doctor was sentenced to 17 years in prison. The gynaecologist, Driss Lahlou, was convicted of complicity in rape, forcibly taking away a woman's virginity, performing unconsented abortions and reconstructing hymens. The scandal came to light only when two young women victimised by Tabet filed suit.