Thirteen migrants jailed in Morocco after deadly crossing into Spanish enclave

More than 20 people died as hundreds stormed fences at Melilla

Migrants climb the fences separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco. AP
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Morocco has sentenced 13 migrants to two-and-a-half years in prison after a deadly mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in June.

Their lawyer, Khalid Ameza, told AFP on Wednesday that he could not specify the charges against the migrants.

The migrants said they intended to appeal against the sentence when they appeared at a court in Nador, a Moroccan city bordering Melilla.

Spanish enclaves Melilla and Ceuta are the EU's only land borders with Africa.

Twenty-three people died when about 2,000 migrants, many from Sudan, stormed the fences along the frontier in June.

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

Spanish rights group Caminando Fronteras said at least 37 died in the mass crossing attempt.

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

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

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

Updated: August 18, 2022, 7:17 AM