The mass trial of over 100 army officers and 1,000 cadets charged with taking part in last July's abortive coup opened in Kenitra on Monday (31 January).
GV EXT Courtroom with crowds and police outside
GV INT Court in session.
CU Prisoners. (3 shots)
SV Defendant addresses tribunal
CU Tribunal and documents on table (2 shots)
SV PAN Prisoners' wives.
SV Prisoners listening.
Initials BB/2350 JH/AS/BB/0045
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The mass trial of over 100 army officers and 1,000 cadets charged with taking part in last July's abortive coup opened in Kenitra on Monday (31 January). About 500 of the accused, with heads shaven and wearing battle dress, sat in the courtroom while the rest stood outside in a courtyard under heavy guard.
The five-man military tribunal--which is headed by a civilian judge--spent Monday on identification procedure which was to continue Tuesday (1 February).
The officers and cadets are accused of crimes committed last July 10 when an army force of 1,400 raided King Hassan's seaside palace at Skhirate, south of Rabat, killing 98 people among guests attending the monarch's birthday party.
The small river port of Kentra, 25 miles (40 Kms) north of Rabat, was chosen for the site of the trial because of the proximity of Morocco's central prison--the only one large enough to contain so many prisoners.
SYNOPSIS: At Kenitra, twenty-five miles north of Rabat, a mass trial of one hundred officers and one thousand cadets opened on Monday. They're charged with having taken part in last July's attempted coup in which a one-thousand-four-hundred-man army force raided King Hassan's seaside palace at Skhirate during the monarch's birthday party. In the ensuing battle, ninety-eight people died.
The five-man military tribunal is headed by a civilian judge.
In later fighting around the King's seaside palace, about 350 cadets were killed. Ten high-ranking officers, including four generals who led the coup attempt, were executed by a firing squad three days after the raid.
The main accused are charged with staging an armed plot against the regime and the three, threatening internal state security and premeditated murder. There are one hundred and fifty lawyers acting for the defence.