“Rabat has long worked to counter radical groups, particularly since the Casablanca bombings in 2003,” the study said.
The study said that Morocco’s counter-terrorism strategy is successful to prevent terror attacks.
The study also called the Imlil double murder, which took place in December 2018 near Toubkal Mount, an “isolated” case.
On December 17, authorities found the bodies of two Scandinavian tourists decapitated. Since December, Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) arrested at least 22 suspects involved in the murder.
The study, however, found that the strategy is not sufficient to curb radicalization.
According to the study, “of the jihadis imprisoned in these years, 220 had previously been arrested on terrorism charges,” and 1300 Moroccans who have left to fight in Syria.
The study also recalled that Moroccan security services were able to dismantle a number of terror cells, which are small groups given the number of terror suspects arrested. However, former jihadi detainees headed some of the cells, indicating recidivism.
The institute said that Morocco’s strategy is effective at preventing jihadis “from organizing into larger groups.”
But Rabat still needs to work on its programs to reintegrate prisoners with terrorism, according to the study.
“Yet despite Rabat’s sporadic efforts to deradicalize jihadis while they are in prison, this policy remains unable to reintegrate them after they have been released.”
The study also recalled Moroccan programs launched by the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), including the reconciliation or Moussalaha program, launched in 2018 and aiming to reintegrate jihadis into society..
The Moroccan government, however, has trust in its reconciliation program. King Mohammed VI offered royal pardon to several defendants convicted of terror-related crimes. Many former jihadis applied to join the program, with 300 prisoners applying for the 25 spots in 2018.
The reconciliation program involves human rights experts and anti-radicalization experts who provide psychological support and rehabilitation to defendants charged and jailed for terror crimes.
However, the program is not widespread. The DGAPR has only accepted 50 out 1000 imprisoned jihadis since launching.
The study also suggests that program participants may not have adequate support once leaving in prison, ending up the same circumstances that led them to radicalization. The study recommends “family support, psychological counseling, vocational training, and forums to continue religious dialogue with credible scholars,” to prevent recidivism.
DGAPR reassured citizens that the reconciliation programs to offer the best conditions for participatory reintegration of persons serving sentences for terrorism.
Morocco’s government is still concerned about the threat posed by people who were involved in terror acts in Middle Eastern countries affected by civil wars, including Syria and Iraq.
After the arrest of the Imlil murder suspects, the Head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) Abdelhak Khiame said that ISIS fighters are still posing a threat to the stability and security of the region.
He warned that international cooperation is needed and a must to curb the scourge of terrorism.