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Morocco king pardons 29 jailed for ‘terrorism’ offences

RABAT (AFP) – Morocco’s king pardoned 29 people jailed for “terrorism or extremism” offences in a gesture marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan, the Justice Ministry announced.

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 issued late Sunday.

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 Ramadhan. In 2017, the North African nation launched a reintegration programme called Moussalaha, or ‘Reconciliation’, in its prisons, targetting inmates convicted of “terrorism” who were willing to question their beliefs.

Since 2022, the security services have 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 extremist 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 extremists linked to the Islamic State group during a hiking trip in the High Atlas mountains.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI at the Royal Palace in Tetouan, Morocco. PHOTO: AP