Morocco sentences 13 migrants to prison, says lawyer

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Morocco sentenced 13 migrants to two-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, their lawyer said, following a deadly mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June.

Their representative, Khalid Ameza, could not specify the charges against the 13 when approached by AFP.

They appeared at a court in Nador, a Moroccan city bordering Melilla, and intend to appeal.

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The two Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta are the EU’s only land borders with Africa.

According to the official toll, 23 people died when around 2,000 migrants, many of them from Sudan, stormed the fences along the frontier in June.

It was the largest death toll in years of attempted crossings into the enclaves.

Spanish rights group Caminando Fronteras says as many as 37 people lost their lives in the mass crossing attempt.

The United Nations, the African Union and independent rights groups have condemned the use of excessive force by Moroccan and Spanish security personnel.

Morocco earlier this month sentenced 14 migrants to eight months’ jail following their arrest a day before the deadly mass crossing.

Last month, a Moroccan court sentenced 33 migrants to 11 months in jail for illegal entry.

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