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Morocco: Appeal hearing starts for Hirak trial

Five months after their 20 year imprisonment sentences, the appeal trial of Nasser Zefzafi and his companions began on Wednesday in Casablanca, Morocco.

For this first hearing, 42 defendants were called in before the judges. All were arrested in Al-Hoceima province, the epicentre of the Hirak protest movement.

The lawyers of the leader of the Rif movement, Me Mohamed Aït Bennacer, said he was pessimistic about the appeal procedure. Nasser Zefzafi and his companions were each sentenced for conspiracy to undermine state security.

Some had criticised the harsh verdict, some even called for an amnesty or release. However, on the side of the lawyers of the civil party, these sentences are justified due to the material damage and injuries attained by the public forces during the demonstrations.

These demonstrations were triggered by the death of a fish seller crushed in a dump site in October 2016.