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PJD members accused of terrorism and sentenced to prison because of Facebook

Accused of «advocacy and incitement of terrorism» following the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara last December, the seven young facebook users were sentenced on Thursday to prison ranging from one to two years. A ruling that remains «exaggerated and distressing», according to their lawyer.

PJD members accused of terrorism and sentenced to prison./Ph. DR

The criminal chamber in charge of terrorism-related crimes near the Sale Court of Appeal on Thursday pronounced its verdict against six young people, some of whom are members of the PJD, all accused of «advocacy and incitement of terrorism». The young accused were sentenced to one year in prison and a 10,000 dirham fine for posting on their facebook pages statements that justifies the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara by Turkish police officer Melvut Mert Altintas last December.

A seventh suspect, originally from Meknes, was also sentenced to two years of imprisonment, reports Alyaoum 24.

The Public Prosecutor’s spokesperson asked the court to convict the accused of «advocating terrorist acts» without taking into account the «incitement to terrorism» part, while the defense claimed that the detained were innocent and that they have already spent some time in prison.

«Exaggerated and distressing ruling» and «sacrifice»

Reacting to the court’s ruling on his Facebook page, the lawyer and member of the PJD, Abdessamad Idrissi estimated Thursday that «the verdict remains exaggerated and distressing». «Are you satisfied with the conviction of these young people who represent the elite of this country?» He asked.

Meanwhile, MP Amina Maelainine, who has defended the young accused in the past on her social media pointed out that that detainees «have fought for this country while they are young and belong to a modest environment». «Some have lost their jobs and others have left behind pregnant women or children,» she continues.

«Benkirane said once that in politics there is no insurance for all risks. Those who are not willing to make sacrifices for politics can change their positions and opinions easily. Others believe that changing their opinions and sacrificing the political line of their party could prevent dangerous situations like this one»,  she wrote. Amina Maelainine added that «sacrificing the principles and founding ideology of a political party is a real danger».

On December the 19th, a number of internet users who were members of the Justice and Development party wrote on their personal accounts on facebook posts that praise the murderer of the Russian ambassador, calling him a «hero» and a «dignified descendant of the Ottomans, Sultan Mehmet II the conqueror and Soliman the magnificent». The day after, a joint press release was issued by the Ministry of Justice and Interior responding to these facebook posts. The two departments announced that an investigation will be opened to identify the persons involved and initiate legal proceedings against them.

Young people, mainly from the PJD, were arrested and since then, voices from the ruling party denounced and rejected the joint communiqué and the arrests of several militants. In May, two months after their incarceration, the seven young people began a hunger strike in the local prison of Salé.

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