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The New Arab

Two Dutch citizens sentenced to death in Morocco over accidental shooting

Two Dutch citizens received the death penalty for shooting a student in Marrakech [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 July, 2019

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The two Dutch nationals were trying to kill a cafe owner in Marrakech when they accidentally shot and killed a student.

A Moroccan court has sentenced to death two Dutch citizens over the accidental killing of a medical student in 2017, a lawyer for the victim's family said Saturday.

Two years ago, Edwin Gabriel Robles Martinez and Shardyone Girigorio Semerel allegedly opened fire on a cafe in the tourist hub of Marrakech.

They had apparently been aiming at the cafe's owner, who was involved in criminal activity, but instead killed the 29-year-old son of a Moroccan judge and wounded two other people, Dutch media reported.

At the time local officials said the shooting was a "settling of accounts" that was "directly linked to a criminal network which has ramifications in some European countries".

On Friday, a court sentenced to jail 15 other suspects in the same case, handing them terms ranging between three and 20 years for setting up a "criminal gang", lawyer Abdellatif Htitech told AFP.

Among those convicted was the cafe's owner, who received a 15-year prison sentence for "drug trafficking", said Htitech, who represents the family of the medical student.

A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry in the Netherlands told AFP that the Dutch embassy "is in direct contact with the lawyer", without giving further details.

Asked if the Netherlands would intervene, Annemijn van den Broek said it was up to those convicted to decide whether or not to appeal.

But she added that the Netherlands is opposed to the death penalty.

Morocco - which last issued a death sentence earlier this month against three Islamic State group supporters over the beheadings of two Scandinavian women tourists - has had a de facto freeze on executions since 1993.

Several people were arrested in the days following the 2017 shooting.

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