|Campaigning against the death penalty in Morocco|
A coalition of associations in Morocco campaigning against the death penalty have organized on October 12 a symbolic sit-in in front of Parliament for the 13th World Day Against the Death Penalty. The organizations are seeking to raise a national debate on fundamental human rights, as well as judicial errors and the lack of opportunity for the poorest to get a suitable defense during trial.
The issue is controversial as it pits religion against the constitutional charter. Article 20 guarantees the right to live and article 22 physical integrity. Islamic law, however, states that those who do wrong, pay with their lives. And the reform of the criminal code only reduces the number of crimes punished with the death penalty: 11 against the current 33. As far as parliamentary work is concerned, there is a project to abolish executions that has been presented over a year ago but debate has not been scheduled yet.
No execution has been carried out for over 20 years. The last dates back to 1993 and Amnesty International ranks Morocco among ''de facto abolitionist'' countries. But when debate takes place at the UN, Morocco abstains. The next vote is scheduled in 2016.
Meanwhile tribunals continue to sentence to death.
Last September, in Marrakech, a 24 and 26-year-old were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of causing a deadly car accident in which a family of four people died because they had thrown stones on the street.
A group of lawmakers, 240 across the political spectrum, including a pro-Islamist party, is pressing on the theme, along with a group of attorneys. Dossiers on the death penalty have been presented, including one testifying that 70 inmates sentenced to death and followed daily for five months were found to be malnourished and abandoned to their fate on death row as they were only trying to find a way to commit suicide.
Associations and individuals have set up the website (French, English, Arabic) tudert.ma (tudert means life in the berber language) where petitions and events are posted.
Source: ansamedinfo.com, October 9, 2015
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