Morocco’s king pardons 160 prisoners

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Rabat, Aug 22 (IANS) Moroccan King Mohammed VI has pardoned 160 people convicted in connection with the protests that rocked the Rif region in northern Morocco in late 2016, the media reported.

Citing sources at the Moroccan Justice Ministry, Le360.ma news site on Tuesday mentioned that the pardoning of these protesters came on the occasion of Eid.

The ministry said in an official statement earlier that the king had pardoned 889 inmates on the occasion of Eid, but did not specify their background, Xinhua news agency reported.

The list of the freed people did not include any of the leaders of the protests, who were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison in June.

In late June, a Moroccan court sentenced Nasser Zefzafi, figurehead of the protests, along with three other leaders, to 20-year imprisonment.

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Another 49 people were sentenced to 15-year jail term, along with fines, by the Casablanca Court.

The sentences given to the Rif protesters sparked outrage in Morocco, and many rallies and sit-ins were staged to call for the release of the jailed activists.

The protests broke out in October 2016, when fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death after climbing into a rubbish lorry to retrieve his swordfish confiscated by police.

–IANS

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