Tuesday 24 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Morocco announced Wednesday the arrest of a man allegedly seen in an online video sexually assaulting a girl in broad daylight, a scene that sent shock waves across the country. The interior ministry said the unnamed 21-year-old was arrested for attempted rape of the girl aged 17 in the southern province of Rhamna. In footage posted online on Tuesday, the assailant kneels on top of the teenager touching and hitting her as she struggles in the dusty ground to get free. "Don't you have a sister?" she cries out, as a third person films the assault. Authorities said the other person had been identified and that he would also be arrested as part of an...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Moroccan police on Tuesday announced an investigation into a video showing a teenage girl being pinned down, stripped and assaulted in broad daylight after it stirred a wave of anger. In the footage circulated online an assailant kneels on top of the teen touching and hitting her as she struggles in the dusty ground to get free. "Don't you have a sister?" she cries out, as a third person films the assault. Moroccan police announced that they had opened an investigation into the video to "identify the attacker" and "determine where and when this crime took place." Local media outlets called the incident "a scene of rare violence" and "atrocious". The North African nation officially champions a tolerant version of...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Moroccan authorities have promised to close all abandoned mines in Jerada after months of social unrest in the former mining town in the country's northeast. "There are more than 3,200 wells in Jerada, but only 200 to 300 are active. The others, which are abandoned and present a clear danger, will all be closed," said Abderrazzak El Gourji, secretary general of the region's police headquarters, in an interview with AFP. Jerada has seen waves of peaceful demonstrations since the deaths...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/18)
Thousands of Moroccans on Friday defied a government ban and demonstrated in the former mining town of Jerada demanding an "alternative economy" and the release of jailed activists. The accidental deaths in December of two brothers trapped in a mine shaft, followed by two other deaths under similar circumstances, has sparked a wave of unrest and protests in the impoverished town. An economic plan proposed by the government succeeded in briefly calming social unrest, but protesters returned to the street in late February to demand concrete solutions. Tension rose last weekend after authorities arrested four activists.
(AFP (eng) 03/17/18)
Battling gusts of sandy wind, riders from across the world struggled to control feisty stallions as they raced in the first Gallops of Morocco, a desert endurance challenge. In a country with an ancient history of horsemanship, the event in the wilderness of Merzouga was the first of its kind -- a six-day test of stamina, navigation and teamwork. Competitors spend four to seven hours a day in the saddle, covering up to 30 kilometres (18 miles) of rough terrain...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Protesters and police clashed on Wednesday in the former mining town of Jerada in northeastern Morocco in connection to an ongoing protest movement, authorities and activists said. Videos posted on social media by activists showed a tense standoff as a new sit-in began in the city, economically devastated by the closure of its mines in the late 1990s. A local source reported clashes between police and protesters, and activists on Facebook accused police of assaulting the demonstrators. Authorities said a "confrontation" began after hooded youths threw stones at police. Local media reported injuries after the clashes, but authorities have not yet released any figures.
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Moroccan custom officials said Tuesday that they had seized 240 kilograms of hashish squeezed into orange juice cartons destined for export at the port city of Casablanca. Authorities said the stash was found after a check of the supposed shipment of fruit drink showed up some "discrepancies". After a search, bricks of cannabis resin totalling 240 kilograms (530 pounds) were found "carefully concealed inside cartons of orange juice from a local brand," said a statement by the customs authorities carried by local media. In a bid to outfox officials the smugglers had added sand to the shipment to make it weigh the same as a consignment...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Moroccan authorities have arrested two leaders of protests that began last December in the northeastern Moroccan town of Jerada, relatives said on Sunday. Amine Mkallech and Mustapha Dainane were arrested on Saturday and were still being held on Sunday, they said. Dainane was arrested following a traffic accident at 1:00 am on Thursday, according to a statement from the general prosecutor's office in the nearby town of Oujda. His arrest "has no connection with the events in the city of Jerada", an impoverished former coal mining town, it said. Mkallech was also arrested in connection with that traffic accident, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Said Zeroual, told AFP.
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
The trial of a Moroccan journalist accused of sexual assault began on Thursday, with the opening hearing dominated by heated debate over the absence of his accusers. Eight plaintiffs accuse Taoufiq Bouachrine of charges including human trafficking, sexual violence, abuse of power for sexual purposes, rape and attempted rape, according to judicial authorities. The hearing, held in a packed courtroom of the criminal division of Casablanca's appeals court, was deadlocked over the absence of Bouachrine's alleged victims. Lawyers for the 49-year-old publisher of independent Arabic-language daily Akhbar Al-Yaum condemned the proceedings...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/27/18)
HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish prosecutor on Tuesday demanded a life sentence for a Moroccan man who admits killing two people and wounding nine with a knife, in the event that a court rules he was fully aware of his actions. Abderrahman Bouanane, 22 at the time at the attacks in August 2017, was charged with murders and attempted murders “with terrorist intent” in the city of Turku. He has told a court he was responsible for the attack but...
(AFP (eng) 02/26/18)
A prominent Moroccan newspaper publisher and journalist arrested last week has been referred to the prosecution for alleged "sexual assault", his lawyer said on Monday. Taoufiq Bouachrine, known for his editorials criticising officials in the North African country and who had previous run-ins with the authorities, was arrested on Friday at his newspaper, Akhbar al-Yaoum. A colleague said around 20 plain-clothed policemen raided the newspaper and detained him. But defence attorney Mohamed Ziane dismissed the accusations against his client, suggesting...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
Moroccan police on Friday arrested a newspaper publisher and prominent journalist, known for editorials critical of authorities in the North African country, a colleague said. Taoufiq Bouachrine, 49, was arrested during a police raid on his newspaper, Akhbar al-Yaoum, in Casablanca, Mounir Abou Al Maali told AFP. He said around 20 policemen in civilian clothes entered the offices of the newspaper and searched it. "They took pictures and confiscated the key," to the office, he said. Abou Al Maali said it was not immediately clear why Bouachrine was arrested. The Arabic-language newspaper also said on its website that Bouachrine...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/18)
The rubbish had been cleared away and spectators emerged from makeshift tents: it was time for kick-off in the daily football game at the Oulad Ziane migrant camp in Morocco's Casablanca. "We organise ourselves among the different nationalities," said Djabel Niang, 21, who left Senegal two years ago to pursue his dream of crossing the Mediterranean and playing for Real Madrid. "We play in teams of five or six in conditions that aren't really up to scratch, but we play...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/18)
Morocco has acquitted a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, held without charge by the US military for over 13 years, of "undermining state security", his lawyer said Friday. Yunis Chekkouri was arrested by Pakistani forces in late December 2001 with a group of several dozen alleged fighters who had fled the Tora Bora cave complex in eastern Afghanistan, a stronghold of the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies. The following year he was flown to the Guantanamo Bay military prison, where he was locked up for over 13 years but never charged. In September 2015, Chekkouri was released and sent back home...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
A Moroccan man was arrested in Paris Wednesday on suspicion of helping a jihadist who staged an attack on a high-speed train in 2015, a source close to the inquiry told AFP. The source said the 36-year-old was suspected of providing "logistical help" to Ayoub El Khazzani who opened fire with an AK-47 on a Paris-bound train from Amsterdam carrying more than 500 passengers. Two people were wounded before the gunman was overpowered by three Americans on holiday in Europe,...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Couscous may be the signature dish of North Africa, but steaming plates of the stew-topped semolina are also served up in West Africa and around the Mediterranean. Since 1998 the Italian island of Sicily has been the unlikely host of the couscous-making world championship known as Cous Cous Fest, which bills itself as a "festival of cultural integration". Each September chefs convene on Sicily, whose Mediterranean location opposite Tunisia has made it a cultural crossroads throughout history, battling to be crowned couscous king or queen. Palestinian chefs George Suheil Srour and Elias Bassous won the competition last year, with a couscous topped with grilled sea bream...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Moroccan authorities said Sunday they had seized nearly 541 kilos (1,200 pounds) of cocaine in a container from Latin America which arrived in Casablanca. Six people including a Brazilian suspected of being the "mastermind of a criminal network" were arrested, according to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ). It also seized five vehicles and "large sums of money" in Moroccan dirhams and other currencies. In a statement, the BCIJ said it was investigating a "dangerous" criminal network linked to...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Morocco's prime minister on Wednesday swigged a glass of water from a reservoir supplying some seven million people in a bid to dispel fears over pollution. Saad-Eddine El Othmani staged the publicity stunt in front of flashing cameras after environmental groups said it was being tainted by waste from two nearby prisons. "This water is drinkable," he told journalists as he sipped a glass from the Sidi Mohamed Benabdallah reservoir on the coast between capital Rabat and Casablanca. "You are...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Moroccan rescue services have recovered the bodies of 16 migrants off the coast of Spain's enclave of Melilla, Moroccan and Spanish officials said Sunday. Three women were among the dead taken to a morgue in the Moroccan city of Nador, a medical official there told AFP. All were sub-Saharan Africans apart from one Moroccan, the official said. A spokeswoman for Melilla's authorities earlier said "about 20" bodies had been recovered in Moroccan territorial waters. The bodies of the migrants were spotted Saturday by a Spanish ship, which alerted the rescue services of both countries, she said.

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