cover image: Morocco royal pardon an encouraging step


Morocco royal pardon an encouraging step

The organization has further welcomed yesterday’s bailing of three Sahrawi human rights activists, who had been detained since October 2009 but called on the charges against them to be dropped. [...] Amnesty International has expressed its hope that these releases would signal a relaxing of the “red lines” on criticism of the authorities and the question of Western Sahara which human rights activists have traditionally been forbidden to cross rather than a measure to pacify protesters calling for reform in Morocco and Western Sahara. [...] The pardon of Chekib El-Khiari came as part of a wider amnesty that commuted or shortened the sentences of 190 prisoners: reportedly 96 were released; 52 had their sentences reduced; 37 had life sentences reduced to shorter terms; and five had death sentences commuted to life imprisonment (Morocco has a long-standing moratorium on executions). [...] The pardons followed a memorandum submitted to King Mohamed by President and Secretary General of the new National Human Rights Council. [...] The men, together with four other Sahrawi activists, are facing charges of threatening Morocco’s “internal security” in connection with their peaceful and legitimate activities in support of the self-determination of Western Sahara.
morocco and western sahara human rights defenders and activists detention prisoners of conscience
Index number
MDE 29/002/2011
Published in
United Kingdom