On Monday evening, the Court of Appeal in the city of Casablanca postponed consideration of the case of parliamentarian Mohamed El Hidaoui, the former president of Olympique Safi, and journalist Adel Al Amari, in what has become known in the media as the “Qatar World Cup ticket scandal” until next Monday, to continue hearing the pleadings of the defendants’ defense team.
The representative of the Public Prosecution asked the court to support the first instance trial by amending the penalty and raising it to the reasonable limit. Following his comment on the intervention of the Al-Hidawi and Al-Amari Defense Authority.
The Public Rights representative considered that the statements of one of the speakers in the previous session showed that Al-Hidawi was being paid in dollars for tickets he had purchased for her benefit.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal indicated that one of the declarants retracted her previous statements before the judicial police.
During his comment, he confirmed that the charges against the defendants were derived from their consistent statements regarding the acquisition of tickets, in addition to a transcription of the contents of the phone calls that showed that the tickets were purchased in exchange for money.
In addition, lawyer Muhammad bin Malek, a member of Al-Hidawi’s defense team, stressed the innocence of his supporter, and his “clean hands.”
The defense strongly criticized the judicial police’s reports. It also asked, “If there is an interest in pursuing Al-Hidawi?” and asked, “Why did the National Rally of Liberals freeze Al-Hidawi’s membership immediately after the prosecution against him was closed?”
The lawyer drew attention to the fact that this case may be the result of political calculations in which his client was the victim. He confirmed that his supporter traveled with his own money, along with his fellow parliamentarians, to support the national team, because he is a fan of his country’s team and is also the president of a football club.
Al-Hidawi’s defense focused on the content of the famous audio recording condemning his client, and said that it took more than its size in public opinion, and the rest of the recording was not listened to, which confirms the misunderstanding, and that his client had no intention of selling tickets.
Last August, the Court of First Instance in Casablanca sentenced Mohamed El Hidaoui, parliamentarian of the National Rally of Independents and head of the Olympic Safi team, to effective imprisonment for a year and a half, and a fine of 2,000 dirhams, in the case of selling tickets for the “Qatar 2022” World Cup.
The same court also imposed a 10-month prison sentence against Adel Al-Ammari, a radio activist on Radio Mars, and a fine of 1,000 dirhams.
The two concerned were charged with “fraud by selling match tickets at a higher price, selling match tickets without a license, and participating in the scam.” Al-Hidawi was detained, while the journalist was released.