Moroccan justice has increased on appeal the prison sentences of eight migrants who took part in a murderous attempt to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla at the end of June, we learned from their lawyer on Tuesday.
“The Nador Court of Appeal on Monday evening toughened the sentences of three migrants to four years in prison and three years in prison for five others,” defence lawyer Mbarek Bouirig told AFP. Seven other defendants from the same group had their sentences upheld at two and a half years in prison, the lawyer said.
These 15 migrants were sentenced, among other things, for "illegal entry" into Morocco, "disobedience" and "damage to public property", according to Me Bouirig. This is the latest group to be tried on appeal among dozens of irregular migrants prosecuted following the tragedy in Melilla.
The majority of them saw their sentences increased on appeal to three years in prison. “We hoped that justice would take into consideration their condition as asylum seekers in order to lower these sentences,” deplores their defence.
Nearly 2,000 migrants, mostly Sudanese, had tried on June 24 to enter by force into the Spanish autonomous city of Melilla, located in northern Morocco.
This attempt killed 23 migrants, according to the Moroccan authorities, 27 according to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).
This is the deadliest toll ever recorded during the many attempts by sub-Saharan migrants to enter Melilla and the neighbouring Spanish enclave of Ceuta, which constitute the European Union's only land borders with the African continent.
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