Somali court releases Moroccans previously sentenced to death for ISIS ties

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A military court in Puntland, Somalia, has released a group of Moroccan nationals who were previously sentenced to death for joining the Islamic State (ISIS).

Quoted by Somali media, the chairman of the military court, Abdifatah Haji Adnan, said the group of convicts included foreign nationals from Morocco and Ethiopia. All had surrendered to Puntland authorities after escaping from ISIS in Somalia.

The court released the six men to the Somali Ministry of Justice's Department of Constitutional Affairs, which will facilitate their repatriation to their home countries.

In late February, a military court in the Somali town of Bosaso sentenced six Moroccan nationals to death for alleged ISIS membership. The sentences came after a trial involving nine foreign nationals accused of terrorism-related charges.

The Moroccan defendants were accused of «training with ISIS at their base in the Cal-Miskaat Mountains in northeastern Somalia».

During the trial, the accused Moroccans, along with the other foreign defendants, reportedly stated they were misled about participating in ISIS activities and expressed a desire to return home. They claimed they had voluntarily surrendered to Somali security forces.

The military court did not specify if the released Moroccan defendants are among the six sentenced to death earlier in February.

It is worth noting that in March, a group of Moroccan associations, including the Moroccan Coalition Against the Death Penalty (CMCPM), the Association for Justice for a Fair Trial, and the Lawyers Network Against the Death Penalty, condemned the death sentences imposed on the Moroccans and urged the Moroccan authorities to take urgent measures to repatriate them.

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