MOROCCO TO ABOLISH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
February 1, 2007: Morocco will remove by the end of April the death penalty from its statute books, the president of the state appointed Consultative Committee on Human Rights, Ben Dhikri, confirmed to Adnkronos International. He is among 600 delegates gathered in the French capital, Paris, for a three-day international conference against the death penalty. Prospects for abolishing capital punishment in North Africa are the main focus of the event - 'The 3rd World Congress Against the Death Penalty'.
Dhikri said a "general consensus" in favour of ending capital punishment exists among MPs in the current Moroccan parliament whose term ends in April. Dhikri, who is a close advisor to Morocco's King Mohammed VI, praised the monarch's appointment of a special legal commission tasked with removing capital punishment from the country's penal code.
"The law has already been amended and capital punishment abolished for a number of crimes," Dhikri explained. "The plan now is to revise Morocco's constitution to remove the death penalty," he said.
"No true opposition to abolishing capital punishment exists, but there is some concern about the growth of terrorism and new forms of the phenomenon," Dhikri said. "The positive aspects of Islam need to be stressed. It does not order people to kill, carry out reprisals or state executions," he added.
Arab governments need to show themselves willing to take certain important decisions such as that to abolish capital punishment, and give a lead to a sometimes hesistant public, according to Dhikri. In Morocco, "a new moral conscience has matured which has contributed to the abolition of the death penalty," he said.
Morocco has not applied the death penalty since 1993. (Sources: Alh/Aki, 01/02/2007)