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Moroccan migrants face extradition after court appearance

The nine Moroccan men who were detained on Thursday were trying to get to Spain but ended up in Gibraltar after running into trouble at sea, the Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Speaking through an interpreter in court, the men urged officials here to contact their families and let them know they were safe.

They now face extradition.

The men were arrested after their dinghy beached on rocks between Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay, sparking a major search operation on the east side of the Rock.

They were kept in police custody overnight before being taken to the Magistrates Court yesterday morning.

The nine men were brought before the court into the dock in two groups, one of six and the other of three.

Speaking through an interpreter, each man pleaded guilty to ‘being a non-Gibraltarian in Gibraltar without a valid permit or residence’.

One of the men explained that their intention was to go to Spain but they had problems out at sea and ended up in Gibraltar.

The group were keen to stress that their main concern was that their parents are informed of their whereabouts.

Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto assured them that the authorities could help them make those arrangements.

He said the men should be detained until they can be seen out.

Arrangements will now be made to have the men extradited back to Morocco.

James Lennane appeared for the Crown.