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Moroccan court sentences 8 detainees of the thirst protests to prison

Members of the Moroccan counter-terrorism efforts, the newly set-up BCIJ (described as Morocco's FBI) [File photo]
Members of the Moroccan counter-terrorism efforts, the newly set-up BCIJ (described as Morocco's FBI) [File photo]

On Tuesday 31 October 2017, a Moroccan court sentenced eight people to prison for a period between two to four months, for “insulting and assaulting government officials.”

On 8 October, Zagora, south-easte Morocco, has witnessed protests in which citizens demanded drinking water supply. These protests became known in the media as the “thirst protests”.

The security authorities intervened at that time to break up peaceful protests and arrested 21 people, most of whom  were young people.

In a statement to Anadolu News Agency, lawyer Mohammed Al-Masoudi, a member of the defence committee of the accused people, said that “the court’s decision that has been issued today, is preliminary, and will be appealed to prove the accused people’sinnocence.”

He added that the court charged the detainees with “insulting and assaulting public (government) officials while they were carrying out their duty, which resulted in injury and material damage to something that is intended for public benefit.”

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According to the same source, the court sentenced Mohammed al-Zuwain, Murad al-Yusufi, and Ibrahim Bamad to two months in prison and sentenced Lehsan al-Dahani and Hamza Al-Abdellawi to three months in prison.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Laishi, Hamza Al-Naji, and Mohammed Banwik were sentenced to four months in prison, which means the court has sentenced the eight people to a total of 24 months in prison.

Weeks ago, the Moroccan King ordered to form a committee which would be headed by Prime Minister Saad Eddin Othmani to reach a solution to the problem of water scarcity in a number of areas of the country, especially in the province of Zagora.

Last week, the Moroccan minister in charge of water supply, Sharafat Afilal, visited the city of Zagora to announce a temporary solution to the water problem as the first government move to end the protests in the region.

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