Suspect denies bombing tourist haven Marrakesh

by Emily DUNBAR on September 23, 2011

The chief suspect over a bombing that killed 17 in Morocco’s popular city of Marrakesh today retracted his confession while denying that he ever had any involvement in the incident.

Mr Adel Othmani said that he has been framed by intelligence services. The deadly blast, which ripped through the city’s main square, mostly killed foreign tourists. Mr Othmani, facing the death penalty should he be convicted, denies murder as well as making explosives. With him, seven others deny having played lesser roles. Because of this, the trial was adjourned.

The blast, in the heart of Marrakesh’s tourist area - killed eight French citizens and two Moroccans, in addition to British, Canadian, Swiss, Portuguese, and Dutch nationals. Remarkably, the attack was the deadliest in the popular north Africa country since bombs went off in Casablanca, a much-loved coastal city, in 2003 and killed 45 people – which includes the suicide bombers themselves.

During Thursday’s hearing, Othmani told the judges and lawyers of how he has never even set foot in Marrakesh. He then went on to claim that Moroccan intelligence had done nothing but create a terrorist event before quickly arresting suspects to prevent any pro-democracy protests while trying to prove that the country is the perfect ally for the Western world with regards to its battle against terrorism. Outside court, Othmani’s older brother insisted to reporters that his sibling is innocent.

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