Dozens of Moroccan activists appeal jail terms

2018-07-09 19:05


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A group of 53 Moroccan activists involved in protests which rocked the North African country will appeal their jail terms of up to 20 years, their lawyers said on Monday.

Protest leader Nasser Zefzafi and three others were jailed for 20 years last month for "plotting to undermine the security of the state", while 49 others were sentenced to one to five years plus fines.

Journalist Hamid el Mahdaoui received a three-year prison term related to his coverage of demonstrations in the northern Rif region, which began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman.

At a press conference on Monday, the activists' lawyers slammed the "shocking" sentences and accused the court of "unfairness" during the nine-month trial, claiming their requests to present defence testimony were refused.

The legal team said there was no proof to support the "separatism" charge under which some of the activists were convicted.

Defence lawyer Abderrahim Jamai called for the "mobilisation of the political class" to find a "quick solution which puts to an end the suffering of the detainees and to the tensions" in the region.

One of the activists jailed for five years, Rabie El Ablak, has been on hunger strike for 42 days.

Authorities said the case was handled in compliance with international norms and in the presence of foreign observers and the media.

But the sentences sparked protests following the June 26 verdict and again on Sunday, when several thousand rallied in Casablanca where the trial was held.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) last month described the judgement as a "mockery of justice", while Amnesty International called for the verdicts to be overturned.

The 2016 protests began when fisherman Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death in a rubbish truck, while he was apparently trying to retrieve swordfish seized by authorities as it was caught out of season.

Subsequent unrest in the Rif region, where the marginalised Berber ethnic group is the majority, focused on social issues as demonstrators demanded jobs and development.

Read more on:    morocco  |  northern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.