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Moroccan judges demonstrate for more independence

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm •  Published: October 6, 2012

Morocco's new constitution passed last year does give the judicial branch greater powers and independence but it has yet to be implemented.

Justice is one of the most sensitive issues in this tourist-friendly North African country of 32 million, where there is widespread distrust of a court system that most Moroccans believe serves the highest bidder.

Critics say verdicts in civil trials can be bought for just $5,000, while a phone call from a high official is enough to seal a guilty verdict in the case of terrorism or political trials.

The Islamist Justice and Development Party that won last year's elections made battling corruption and creating a truly independent judiciary a main plank of its campaign, but judges say little has changed. 

"This issue concerns all the Moroccan people who deserve a truly independent judiciary," said Mohammed Anbar, the vice president of the club and a Supreme Court judge. "We are here, simply put, for the independence of the justice system. We want a justice system which is effective, has integrity, is strong and is independent."