Students charged with rioting are held in prison

The Kénitra court of appeal in Morocco ordered 11 students charged with public disorder offences dating from March to remain in prison, while two others were provisionally freed. The trial of the 13 was postponed at the end of August until 10 September.

Libération reported that the students, all members of the Moroccan students’ union UNEM, were accused of vandalising public property, obstructing a public highway, attempting to set fire to public places, illegal and armed assembly, and attacking and injuring officers of the law.

The defence, reported Libération, claimed they were arrested with 37 other students after police intervened while they were demonstrating peacefully for legitimate demands, including the right to clean drinking water; and that at the police station they were all illegally obliged to sign charge sheets.

During a press briefing, reported Libération, the students’ lawyer, Mohamed Haddach, said the students had suffered physical violence, and a doctor had issued incapacity certificates for between 15 and 20 days.

“The number of days is not so interesting as the fact proved by these certificates that the students had been beaten by the police after their arrest, which is a serious violation of the rights of every detainee,” he said.

Libération said that according to the official news agency Maghreb Arabe Presse, the police claimed that “the students had occupied the administrative offices and the sickbay of student residences, then vandalised them after driving away the security guards, which had necessitated the intervention of the forces of order”.

But, said Libération, according to the defence, students had filmed police officers forcing a way through the residence using a bulldozer and destroying everything in their way – doors, tables, beds and chairs.

One student had been taken to hospital in a serious state following this “unjustified” violent intervention.

Meanwhile Minister of Higher Education and Research Lahcen Daoudi, and Minister of the Interior Mohand Laenser, met to discuss preparations for the new academic year, reported the Maghreb Arabe Presse agency of Rabat.

These included “in particular, security measures aimed at preserving public order and the fight against all phenomena liable to breach security in the areas situated near university institutions and residences, and the operations of the local commissions responsible for granting bursaries, as well as a certain number of other issues concerning the premises”.

In a statement following the meeting, the agency reported, Daoudi “underlined the necessity to fight against all forms of violence in universities and residences and to take disciplinary measures against offenders”.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.