Prison Break, Moroccan Style

On Tuesday morning, 9 inmates and suspected terrorists escaped from a Moroccan jail. Moroccan bloggers used every pun and reference from the American television show, Prison Break, to describe their shock and disbelief.

At Carpe Diem, Manal writes in a post entitled “Prison Break à la Marocaine”:

Qu’est ce qui se passe au Maroc, ce matin j’ai lu que 9 terroristes se sont échappés de la prison de Kénitra !! NEUF !!! Aw, comment ça ?

La presse reporte que les prisonniers ont creusé un tunnel et que toutes les dispositions ont été prises pour les retrouver. Pourquoi ces dispositions n’ont pas été prises pour les empêcher d’échapper ??

Comment de nos jours, des prisonniers peuvent creuser un tunnel et s’évader ? ça me paraît vraiment surréaliste, alors je vous prie d’éclairer ma lanterne, ceux d’entre vous qui sont fans de Prison Break pourraient me donner des explications !!!

Ceci dit, il y’a beaucoup de choses à déduire de cet épisode !!! Je me rappelle quand j’étais interne à l’hôpital provincial de Kénitra, qu’on recevait des détenus quand ils tombaient malades, je garde encore l’image du convoi qui les accompagnait, 50 flics pour un prisonnier !

Alors comment, 9 prisonniers ont pu creuser un tunnel à l’intérieur de la prison et ont pris la fuite !!! Ce n’est pas un poisson d’Avril par hasard ?

What’s going on in Morocco, this morning I read that 9 terrorists escaped from the prison in Kenitra!! NINE!!! Come on, how could this happen?

The press is reporting that the prisoners dug a tunnel and that every action has been taken to find them. Why weren’t these actions taken to keep them from escaping??

How can prisoners, in this day and age, dig a tunnel and get away? This seems so unrealistic to me, so please fill me in, those of you who’re fans of Prison Break might give me some explanation!!!

That said, there’s a lot that can be deduced from this incident!!! I remember when I was an intern at the provincial hospital in Kenitra and we’d receive convicts when they got sick, I can still recall the image of the convoy that accompanied them, 50 cops for one prisoner!

So how could 9 prisoners dig a tunnel from inside the prison and take off!!! This wouldn’t happen to be an April Fool’s joke, would it?

In his post entitled “Kenitra Break!” Jamal Hafsi writes:

Difficile à imaginer ! Pourtant ils l’ont fait !… Vous aurez compris qu’il s’agit là des neuf takfiristes qui à l’aube de ce lundi ont faussé compagnie à leurs anges gardiens en réussissant leur évasion de la prison de Kenitra.

Une évasion qui, comme on doit se douter, a mis en alerte l’ensemble des services de sécurité du pays. A raison d’ailleurs ! Parce que laisser longtemps pavaner, dans la nature, des évadés de cet acabit n’est pour ainsi dire pas indiqué…

Je ne sais pas si c’est Michael Scofield, le héros de la série Prison Break, qui les a inspiré mais en tous les cas le coup qu’ils ont réussi ressemble beaucoup à ces évasions qui ne sont possibles qu’au cinéma. Et en fait de cinéma je commence à avoir quelque propension à penser que cette prison de Kenitra ressemble plus, depuis quelque temps, à un studio de tournage pour films d’évasion qu’à une prison.

La comparaison est évidement un tantinet osée, mais il est tout de même bizarre, et c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire, que neuf détenus, condamnés à de très lourdes de peines, qui plus est en rapport avec le terrorisme, aient réussi à prendre la tangente avec une facilité aussi insolente. Neuf d’un seul coup, ça en fait un peu trop quand même !

Hard to imagine ! And yet they did it !…You’ve surely understood that I’m talking about nine takfirists who parted company with their guardian angels this Monday morning at dawn, as they succeeded their escape from the Kenitra prison.

An escape that, as one must imagine, put the country’s entire security service on alert. And with reason, at that! Because letting some jailbird escapees of this stripe prance around in the wild like that is not recommended…

I don’t know if it was Michael Scofield, the hero of the television series Prison Break, who inspired them but in any case the coup they’ve pulled off resembles many of the escapes only possible in movies. Speaking of the movies, I’m beginning to have the proclivity of thinking that this prison in Kenitra has begun to resemble the film studios where escape films are shot more and more lately.

The comparison is obviously a little bit daring, but it’s still odd, and that’s the least you can say about nine prisoners, condemned to heavy sentences, which on top of that are related to terrorism, could manage to go on the lam with such insolent simplicity. Nine all at the same time, now that’s a few too many!

For more information, including facts regarding previous breakouts from this prison, check out an English-language blog by Adilski:

So far in the history of Moroccan jails , two types of prisoners have managed to evade — the Al-Qadea members and the drug dealers. The common denominators amongst the two is that they both belong to cash-rich powerful rings. The prison guards can be easily coerced because not only they are underpaid, but they also work in a very corrupt environment where only money and bribes rule. It's the culture of prisons in Morocco, just like it is the case with prisons in developing nations.

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