30 injured in Moroccan prison mutiny

2011-05-17 14:21

Rabat - Dozens of people were injured overnight in a mutiny at a Moroccan prison holding Islamists, media reports said on Tuesday.

The reports put the number of injured at the prison of Sale - Rabat's twin city - at about 30. The official Moroccan news agency MAP said eight guards and police officers had been slightly injured.

Inmates used force to prevent prison guards from doing their work, according to witnesses quoted by Moroccan media.

Inmates also climbed onto the prison roof to protest against a decision by the prison authorities to deprive them of access to phones and the internet, a judicial source said.

The source said most of the 40 mutineers were Islamists. Some reports put the number of mutineers at 150. Security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.

The Sale prison holds about 200 Islamists, in a total of more than 350 inmates.

"Those responsible for the prison wanted to attack an inmate" suspected of placing videos showing prisoner protests on YouTube, Abderrahim Mohtade, a representative of the inmates' families, said.

The situation had returned to normal by Tuesday morning.

King Mohammed VI recently pardoned 190 Moroccan prisoners, including many Islamists.

The Moroccan government stands accused of a heavy-handed crack-down on Islamists following the 2003 Casablanca suicide bombings that killed 45 people.

On April 28, suspected Islamist terrorists struck in Marrakech, bombing a cafeteria popular with tourists.

Seventeen people were killed. Three people have been arrested in connection with the attack.