Driver in Morocco deadly train crash guilty but walks free

RABAT (AFP): The driver of a passenger train that derailed and killed seven people in Morocco last year has been convicted of manslaughter but released on time already served, his lawyer said Wednesday. The guilty verdict was handed down late on Tuesday by the court of first instance in the town of Sale near Rabat, the lawyer, Chaouki Ajana, told AFP.

Larbi Rich was sentenced to five months and five days in prison for manslaughter, which amounted to the time he had already served in detention since being detained after the crash in mid-October, said Ajana. The train he was driving flew off the tracks about 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Rabat in Sidi Bouknadel municipality on October 16, killing seven people and injuring 125.

The 54-year-old driver, who himself suffered serious injuries in the accident, was arrested on October 23. He was due to be released later Wednesday, but his defence team would still appeal the sentence, said Ajana, describing his client as a “responsible man” with a flawless 30-year work record.