First Published: 2017-11-09

Morocco sentences two activists to 20-year terms
Court sentences two members of Moroccan "Popular Movement" to 20 years in prison and four others to terms ranging from one to five years.
Middle East Online

Supporters of Morocco's al-Hirak al-Shaabi movement protest outside court in Casablanca.

RABAT - A Moroccan court has sentenced two members of a northern protest movement to 20 years in prison each for torching a police building earlier this year, their lawyer said.

Rachid Benali said the verdict was issued on Tuesday by a court in Al-Hoceima, a port city in the neglected northern Rif region which was rocked by protests for social justice.

The court sentenced two members of Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", to 20 years in jail and four others to prison terms ranging from one to five years, Benali said.

They were accused of having torched a building that housed policemen in March, in the city of Imzouren near Al-Hoceima.

No one was injured in the fire which damaged the building and forced the evacuation of dozens of policemen from the roof.

In August another activist was also sentenced to 20 years in jail in connection with the arson attack.

Northern Morocco was rocked by months of protests after the death in October last year of a fisherman who was crushed in a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated by authorities because they were caught out of season.

The protests demanding justice for 31-year-old Mouhcine Fikri quickly snowballed into a wider social movement led by Al-Hirak, demanding jobs, development and an end to graft.

In response, security forces launched a crackdown, putting the alleged leaders of the mainly young protesters in jail in May and June.

Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi was among those arrested.

His trial, alongside 53 co-defendants, opened at the end of October.


Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues