Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Marrakesh bombing suspects on trial

Seven suspects have gone on trial for the bombing of the Argana Cafe in Marrakesh that killed 17 people.
At the opening of the trial last Thursday in Rabat, lawyers were granted an adjournment until August 18 to allow victims and defense teams sufficient preparation time.

The bombing, on April 28, killed Moroccan, British, French, Swiss and Portuguese victims.

The alleged ringleader, Adel Othmani, did not seem concerned by his appearance in the courtroom and smiled and waved at family members. He was arrested three days after the explosion and is accused of disguising himself as a guitar-carrying hippie to plant the two bombs that tore through the cafe overlooking the famed Jamaa el Fna square. Moroccan police say he has loyalties to al-Qaeda and tried to travel to Iraq and Chechnya.

The charges facing the seven suspects include premeditated murder, explosives possession, and membership in a banned religious group, according to the state news agency MAP.

The court refused a defense request to release the suspects ahead of the next court hearing, with the prosecutor angrily refuting the claim that the conditions of detention resembled those at the US prison camp at Guantanamo.

Security experts have stated that it is likely the bombing was intended to cripple the Moroccan tourist industry, which is a mainstay of the economy.

No comments: