Inmates convicted of terrorism-related charges are only released after entering a reconciliation program and denouncing extremist ideology.
Rabat – On Morocco’s Independence Manifesto day, King Mohammed VI granted a royal pardon to 265 inmates, including eight women who were convicted in terrorism cases.
The Joint Commission for the Defense of Islamist Detainees revealed the identity of the women, Arabic-language daily Akhbar Al Yaoum reported on January 13.
The beneficiaries of the royal pardon are Lamia Azi from Sidi Slimane; Chaimae El Hassani, Meriem Mekki, and Fatima Al Jabbari from Kenitra; Soukaina El Abaoui and Hanane Zaimi from Tan-tan; as well as sisters Zineb and Meriem Makboul from Ain Taoujdate.
The women were members of an ISIS-linked terrorist cell made up of 10 women. The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), part of the General Directorate of Surveillance of the National Territory (DGST), dismantled the terrorist cell in October 2016.
The women, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, were looking for products used in the manufacture of explosive devices, with the aim of carrying out suicide attacks at sensitive sites across Morocco.
The newspaper added that some of the women have family ties with Moroccan fighters affiliated with ISIS, as well as with supporters of extremist Islamist groups.
King Mohammed VI pardoned the women after they benefited from the “Reconciliation” program (Moussalaha). Morocco’s General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) launched the program in 2017. The program, intended for prisoners with extremist ideology, aims to expertly mentor as well as psychologically and intellectually rehabilitate prisoners in order for them to successfully reintegrate into Moroccan society.
The Moroccan government has eminent trust in the reconciliation program. King Mohammed VI has previously offered his royal pardon to numerous defendants convicted of terror-related crimes who applied to join the program.
The program supervisors only release convicts once they have officially revised their ideological orientations by rejecting extremism and terrorism and expressing their attachment to the sanctity of the nation.