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Court Postpones Trial of Moroccan Islamist Leader Accused in Murder Case of Leftist Student

Court Postpones Trial of Moroccan Islamist Leader Accused in Murder Case of Leftist Student

Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 - 09:30
Protesters throw stones towards riot police as they demonstrate against alleged corruption in the provincial town of Imzouren, Morocco, June 2, 2017. Reuters/Youssef Boudlal

The Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Fez city, central Morocco, decided Tuesday to postpone the trial of Abdelali Hami-Eddine, a leader in the Justice and Development Party (PJD).

Hami-Eddine is accused of contributing to the premeditated murder of left-wing student Mohamed Benaissa Ait El Jid in the 1990s, and his case was postponed to early December.

The court’s judge announced that the case has entered into the deliberation phase on what was submitted by the defense lawyer, who demanded the annulment of the public case by the examining magistrate.

The Chamber decided on December 3 to issue the verdict, after the court rejected the formal defenses presented by Hami-Eddine’s lawyer, who considered the reopening of the case a “political step affecting the independence of the judiciary in Morocco.”

The session was attended by PJD’s leaders, who were present to support Hami-Eddine, in addition to dozens of leaders and cadres who organized a demonstration supporting the religious leader, in which banners were lifted condemning the retrial.

The trial took place one day after the Court of Appeal in Fez sentenced four PJD members to jail in the case of El Jid’s murder in 1993, following bloody clashes between leftist and Islamist students at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in the city.

The court sentenced Taoufik El Kadi and Abdelouahed Kerioul to three years in prison and Kassem Abdelkebir and Ajil Abdelkbir to three months in prison.

It is noteworthy that the court of first instance had acquitted them before reopening the case.

The Equity and Reconciliation Commission had previously accepted a financial compensation for Hami-Eddine after it was proven that he had been arbitrarily detained from the hospital in Fez, where he was receiving treatment from head injuries during the events that led to El Jid’s death.

The case dates back to 1993, when the leftist student of al-Qaeda student faction was killed near the Faculty of Legal and Economic Sciences in Fez during the bloody ideological struggle known by the Moroccan University between leftist and Islamist movements.

Hami-Eddine was accused of participating in the fight that led to El Jid’s death although the convict denies this charge and considers himself a “victim.”

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