Moroccan Court Sentences 33 Migrants to Prison Over Melilla Attempt

Moroccan Court Sentences 33 Migrants to Prison Over Mellila Crossing Attempt (News Central TV)
Riot police officers cordon off the area after migrants arrive on Spanish soil and crossing the fences separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco in Melilla, Spain, Friday, June 24, 2022. Dozens of migrants stormed the border crossing between Morocco and the Spanish enclave city of Melilla on Friday in what is the first such incursion since Spain and Morocco mended diplomatic relations last month. (AP Photo/Javier Bernardo)

Numerous migrants who attempted to jump a border wall to enter Melilla in the Spanish territory last month have been imprisoned in Morocco.

33 individuals were each given an 11-month prison term by a court in Nador for the deadly attempt to enter into the Spanish outpost of Melilla.

On June 24, as a large number of migrants attempted to cross the North African border, there were at least 23 fatalities in a “stampede.” Approximately 133 individuals crossed the border successfully.

About 2,000 people attempted to pass, according to a representative for the Spanish government’s office in Melilla, but many were turned back by Moroccan and Spanish Civil Guard officers on each side of the border barrier.

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There was international outrage and calls for an investigation after the Melilla massacre. Pedro Sánchez of Spain accuses human smugglers of killing migrants in Melilla.

On Tuesday, the 33 migrants were found guilty of “disobedience,” “armed gathering,” “violence against public officials,” and “illegal entry into Moroccan territory.”

According to the authorities, the suspects were all from sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority coming from Sudan and Chad. They were all sentenced to jail time as well as a 4,000 dirham fine.

According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) and other NGOs, the judgment is “extremely harsh.”

“We hope that the Court of Appeal will rectify this judgment,” the AMDH said in a statement.

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A second trial of 29 migrants over the mass crossing attempt has been adjourned until 27 July.

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