PARIS (Reuters) - A French court threw out a defamation lawsuit on Thursday that was filed by the Moroccan government against a former boxer who said he was kidnapped and tortured by the Moroccan counter-espionage service on the orders of its chief.

Today's ruling came after a hearing in April of this year on the defamation suit, which was filed on Feb. 26, 2015, against Zakaria Moumni, 36. Moumni had said he was tortured for four days at a detention center near Rabat in 2010.

The case soured ties between France and its former colony when a French investigating magistrate demanded security chief Abdellatif Hammouchi be questioned when he was believed to be Paris in 2014.

Morocco, which denies that the dual national was maltreated, halted judicial cooperation with France for nearly a year over the affair.

On Thursday, the Paris criminal court ruled that a state could not claim defamation as if it were an individual, "since that would be too extensive an interpretation of a law, which like any penal statute, must be applied strictly".

A lawyer for the Moroccan government said Rabat would appeal against the ruling "so that any credit given by the media to these allegations is finally ruined and so the state can defend its honor before French jurisdictions".

(Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Larry King)