By Hajar Jannad
By Hajar Jannad
Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Justice has turned a deaf ear to human rights associations’ numerous calls condemning the accusations brought against Mustapha El-Amrani, coach and president of the Taekwondo club “Ennour,” for negligent manslaughter in the tragedy of Cherrat Valley (Oued Cherrat), where eleven children passed away after they drowned in an unwatched beach.
Head of the Moroccan government Abdelilah Benkiran also expressed his solidarity with the “innocent” coach, saying it is not fair to accuse someone for something he did not intend to do. In this regard, Mr. Benkiran called for his release by the Moroccan authorities, claiming he is not responsible for the death of the eleven kids who went on an excursion to a beach with their coach and a bus driver.
The charges against Mustapha El-Amrani caused indignation among Moroccans, who protested against the accusations and claimed the coach is innocent. Consequently, there have been protests in some Moroccan cities such as Tangier, where young men assembled in the United Nations Square to express their indignation and support for the coach. They waved banners and chanted slogans condemning the accusations.
Mustapha has also gained the support of Facebook users, who created about seventeen Facebook pages gathering more than 10,200 followers, including civil society and social actors. For that matter, the families of the victims had withdrawn the legal action of El-Amrani, saying that it was just a natural incident, thus, the blame should not be on the coach, who had always been a caring person with high morals.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time Mustapha has had a run in with possible charges of negligent homicide. According to a statement given to CNN Arabic in 2010 by his brother Boucheib, a boy died while exercising as he banged his head against the floor. Boucheib urged the boy’s family to not take legal action the coach, who had done nothing but monitor him.
Mustpha El-Amrani was born in 1982 in Bensliman, where he established the Taekwondo club “Ennour,” enabling poor children to become highly qualified athletes like the late Halima Mortaziq, the Moroccan Taekwondo champion.
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