Two Dutch men sentenced to death in Morocco

MARRAKECH – The court in Morocco has sentenced two Dutchmen to death for a mistaken murder in café La Crème in Marrakech in November 2017. The two, Shardyone S. (31) and Edwin RM (27), were hired to fight an arch-enemy of Marrakesh in Marrakech. Ridouan Taghi, but accidentally shot and killed the son of a high Moroccan judge.

The intended victim was the Moroccan Dutchman Mustapha el F, alias Moes, who had changed chairs shortly before the attack and thus escaped death. The Moroccan court sentenced a number of other Moroccans with a Dutch passport to long prison terms of six to 20 years.

A cousin of Taghi, Jouad F., has been sentenced to six years for involvement in the murder and two of Taghi’s brothers have also received long prison terms for their role in the mistaken murder.

Capital punishment

Shardyone S. and Edwin RM were also sentenced to death in the first instance. The evidence against them is strong. Because of their striking rasta hairstyles, they were already watched by the Moroccan security service upon arrival and arrested shortly after the attack.

Although they initially denied everything, after their conviction they decided to cooperate with the Moroccan police and share information about the background of the attack.

Edwin RM stated that Taghi was behind the attack and was also involved in the murder of a younger brother of RM. The two Dutch perpetrators of the mistaken murder hoped to receive a lighter sentence through their cooperation. After their arrest, they also said they knew about a murder list, which included the name of Peter R. de Vries.

Death row

Despite the cooperation of the two, the Court of Appeal ruled harshly this week on the Dutch and their co-perpetrators. The death penalty has serious consequences. In the case of a life sentence, the convicted could have appealed to a treaty that makes it possible to serve the sentence in the Netherlands.

Now that the death penalty has been pronounced, that possibility no longer exists. S. and RM are held in appalling conditions in death cells measuring less than two by two metres. They sleep on the floor, but the cell is so small that they have to lie diagonally.

They have since lodged an appeal in cassation, but according to a lawyer familiar with Moroccan law, it rarely happens that the death penalty, once pronounced, is reviewed. The only bright spot is that the sentence has not been carried out since 1993. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided consular assistance to all Dutch parties involved in this criminal case.

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