Morocco king pardons 29 jailed for 'terrorism' offenses

AFP

3 min read
The local prison in Sale, Morocco, where a rehabilitation program was held for inmates convicted on terror charges, on April 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Mosa'ab ElshamyThe local prison in Sale, Morocco, where a rehabilitation program was held for inmates convicted on terror charges, on April 28, 2022.

Morocco's 'Reconciliation' program targets convicted terrorists who are willing to question their beliefs

Morocco's king pardoned 29 people jailed for "terrorism or extremism" offenses in a gesture marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the justice ministry announced Sunday. 

The 29 prisoners were pardoned "after having officially expressed their attachment to the... sacredness of the nation and to national institutions, revised their ideological orientations, and rejected extremism and terrorism,” said a justice ministry statement.

Of those pardoned, 23 will be freed while the remaining six will have their sentences reduced.

The 29 are part of a total of 958 people sentenced by various courts across the country that Morocco's King Mohammed VI pardoned to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan.

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In 2017, the north African nation launched a reintegration program called "Moussalaha" – or "Reconciliation" – in its prisons, targeting inmates convicted of "terrorism" who were willing to question their beliefs.

Over the past two decades, the security services dismantled more than 2,000 extremist cells and made over 3,500 arrests linked to terrorism, according to official figures.

The country has largely been spared jihadist attacks since 2003, when five suicide attacks killed 33 people and wounded scores more in the economic capital Casablanca. 

But in 2018, two Scandinavian tourists were murdered by militants linked to the Islamic State group during a hiking trip in the High Atlas mountains.

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