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Last week French Members of Parliament took the first step towards approving a brief accord on judicial cooperation between France and Morocco. On the face of it, this seems a routine agreement; but behind this protocol lies more than a year of bitter discord between the two countries over attempts by a French judge to question the head of the Moroccan internal intelligence agency over allegations of complicity in torture. After lengthy and sometimes fruitless attempts to broker an end to the dispute, led by French president François Hollande in person, Paris hopes that the deal on judicial cooperation will put the seal on recently-improved bilateral relations. But the wording of the new text has been bitterly opposed by human rights groups who say it is deeply damaging to the independence of France's judges and courts, and who claim that the French authorities have capitulated to the demands of their Moroccan counterparts. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
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