A residence permit for Touil

Milan resident wrongly accused of terrorism.

Abdel Majid Touil, the 22-year-old Moroccan arrested in Gaggiano in Milan’s hinterland in May on terrorism charges, has been granted a temporary residence permit while awaiting a decision on his application for political asylum.

The residence permit issued this week has put an end to a nine-month miscarriage of justice which left Touil and his family traumatised. His mother Fatima had left her job to be close to him.

We were afraid he might make some tragic gesture,” Fatima told media, “but now with this permit the worst is over, we can find a job for him, stave off the threat of eviction and start to hope for a better future. We don’t want to sponge off the Italian state,” Fatima added, “we just want to work and build a better future together.”

After his arrest on suspicion of involvement in the deadly terrorist attack on the Bardo museum in Tunisia on 18 March 2015 in which 24 people were killed, Touil spent six months in solitary confinement in Milan’s San Vittore prison, where he lost 15 kg (over 30 pounds), protesting his innocence.

Touil was released in October, after the public prosecutor ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold him in jail. Not only had he been arrested on an international warrant issued by Tunisia, but bearing a photo which was clearly not of him; attendance records at his language school showed him in Milan immediately before and after the terrorist outrage.

He was saved from extradition to Morocco in October when defence and prosecution agreed this could put his life in danger if Morocco were to further extradite him to Tunisia.