Rabat – Following the publication of Amnesty International annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights 2017/2018,” Amnesty International Morocco accused the El Othmani government of instrumentalizing religion to violate scores of human rights.
In a report published on April 13, Assabah said that the executive director of Amnesty International Morocco, expressed the human rights organization’s concerns over the Moroccan government’s use of religion for its own political ends.
The newspaper reports that the executive director the NGO’s Morocco branch, Salah Abdellaoui, made his remarks during a conference on Thursday, April 12. Speaking about the “rampant” human rights abuses, Mr. Abdellaoui reportedly criticized the government for its inflexibility on some articles in the civil and criminal codes.
Singling out the state of death penalty in Morocco, Salah Abdellaoui allegedly said that the government refuses to take bold steps to abolish capital punishment because of its desire to maintain its in power, especially as Moroccan officials reportedly fear that such “revolutionary moves” would unsettle some conservative circles, undermining their authority.
According to Mr. Abdellaoui, while it harbors the ideological and emotional needs of a minority of the population, maintaining the death penalty frustrates the aspirations of the majority of Moroccans.
He also explained that the government’s resolve to keep some people “retarded in the criminal code” so as to “toy with Moroccans’ emotions and lure them in believing that keeping the law on death penalty is the surest way to prevent high criminality rates.”
In its 2017 report on the death penalty, Amnesty International pointed out that despite the existence of some positive signs mainly motivated by “recent judicial reforms,” Morocco and North Africa in general are still faced with the reality of “disturbing trends” that do not favor for human rights.
The report documented that, although Morocco has witnessed no execution in recent years, death sentences are still being issued. In addition, of the 90 people who were sentenced to death by 2017, over 15 death sentences were issued just last year alone.
In its general 2017 annual report, the group mentioned the repression of political dissent and the bleak prospects of freedom of expression, saying that the prevalence of “Islamic tenets” in the country’s laws and legal system prevents officials from a bold commitment to allowing more fertile grounds for the advancement of human rights.
This is not the first time that such claims are directed at the Justice and Development Party-led government. Since rising to the realm of the executive in 2011, the party has constantly been criticized for its Islamic leanings and a vision of society which opponents claim constitutes a major impediment to the consolidation of a secular way of life in Morocco.