A group of 53 Moroccan activists will appeal their jail terms

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CASABLANCA: On Monday, a group of 53 Moroccan activists involved in protests which rocked the North African country will appeal their jail terms up to 20 years, their lawyers said.

Last month, Nasser Zefzafi, Protest leader and three others were jailed for 20 years for “plotting to undermine the security of the state,” while 49 others were sentenced to one to five years plus fines.

Journalist Hamid el Mahdaoui received a three-year prison term related to his coverage of demonstrations in the northern Rif region, which began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman.

At a press conference on Monday, the activists’ lawyers slammed the “shocking” sentences and accused the court of “unfairness” during the nine-month trial, claiming their requests to present defense testimony were refused.

Defense lawyer Abderrahim Jamai called for the “mobilization of the political class” to find a “quick solution which puts to an end the suffering of the detainees and to the tensions” in the region.
One of the activists jailed for five years, Rabie El Ablak, has been on hunger strike for 42 days.

Authorities said the case was handled in compliance with international norms and in the presence of foreign observers and the media.

But the sentences sparked protests following the June 26 verdict and again on Sunday, when several thousand rallied in Casablanca where the trial was held.

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