Morocco’s King Mohammed VI yesterday is reported to have pardoned some 5,600 prisoners and ordered their release in stages in an attempt to further avoid contagion in the country’s overcrowded prisons.
According to the country’s Justice ministry made it known that a total of 5,654 detainees were freed and then selected based on their age, health, good conduct and length of detention.
The release is said to be in stages due to the exceptional circumstances leading to the emergency health situation and other necessary precautions in order to better fight against the Coronavirus spread in the north African country.
With almost 66 people already been killed by the deadly COVID-19 disease with some 960 more infected in the country, this was a necessary measure which required the King ordering necessary authorities to pardon these prisoners to curb the spread of the disease.
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This is said to be a really “necessary measures to reinforce the protection of detainees in prisons” which are widely known to be overcrowded.
With the country’s population of some 35 million people, there are about 232 detainees per 100,000 inhabitants in the country. The global spread of the Coronavirus had made it mandatory for human right organizations within the country to urge the authority to release all political prisoners as well as those held in preventive detention or those whose terms are nearing its end.
With so many detainees being ordered to be released by the country’s justice ministry, the question is that if those who partook in the 2016 and 2017 Hirak protest movement are yet will be released as well by the King.
Activities such as visits have been reduced in order to further help keep prison workers safe. The UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet had urged countries to consider the release of older detainees and those with low-risk offences.
Several other countries, including Iran, Afghanistan and Indonesia, have moved to release thousands of prisoners to lower the risk of a major outbreak of the virus in prisons.