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Moroccan Court Jails 45 People for Terrorist Plot


A Moroccan court has sentenced 45 people to jail terms of up to 30 years for plotting terrorist attacks in the country's largest city, Casablanca.

The court convicted the defendants Thursday on charges of forming a terrorist gang, making explosives, committing theft and forgery, and failing to denounce terrorism.

Moroccan authorities accused the group of plotting attacks on Casablanca's port and police stations.

The suspects were detained after one of their members, Abdelfettah Raydi, blew himself up in a Casablanca Internet cafe in March 2007. Only Raydi was killed in the blast. His companion, Youssef Khoudri, fled the scene and was later captured.

Khoudri was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison.

Moroccan authorities have jailed hundreds of Islamist militants since 2003, when suicide bombings killed 45 people in Casablanca.

Rights groups complain that many Islamists were given harsh sentences based on flimsy evidence.

In the March 2007 bombing, Raydi detonated his explosives belt after the Internet cafe's owner caught him surfing an Islamist Web site.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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