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Morocco

Barometer

With a moratorium on executions
Country status
76
Sentenced
0
Execution(s)
1
Conviction(s)
Figures for 2021. The last execution in Morocco took place in 1993.

Since 2007, ECPM has been working in Morocco to bring together local abolitionist actors, in order to carry out advocacy campaigns at the national and international level and to implement an educational programme aimed at young people.

Joining forces

The activist scene in Morocco is highly dynamic: ECPM joins forces with the Coalition marocaine contre la peine de mort(which unites eleven associations), the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), as well as networks the association helped to initiate, such as the Réseau des avocats contre la peine de mort (RACPM), the Réseau des parlementaires contre la peine de mort (RPCPM) and the Réseau des journalistes contre la peine de mort (RJCPM).

At the regional level, ECPM supports the development of an abolitionist network in the Maghreb.

Since 2017, ECPM has been coordinating the project “Strengthening progress towards abolition of the death penalty“, with the support of the Agence française de développement, Norway, Switzerland, the European Union and the Fondation de France.

Promoting changes in the law

ECPM and its partners hold political meetings and organise working sessions with diplomatic missions involved in the international abolitionist movement. Activities include making advocacy tools available to local actors, organising awareness-raising workshops in the Moroccan Parliament and strengthening representation of Moroccan actors at UN bodies.

Morocco: The death penalty in law and practice (French)
Conditions of detention for death row prisoners in Morocco are particularly harsh. In 2013, a report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stated that detainees felt demeaned, marginalised and forgotten.

Events organised at the United Nations contribute to putting the international instruments that can propel abolition in the country on the agenda: the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OP2). ECPM also monitors Morocco’s compliance with commitments made at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), by preparing and submitting alternative reports.

Fact-finding missions to prisons make it possible to analyse the conditions of detention of death row prisoners in relation to international standards, and to encourage the authorities to increase transparency. In 2013, ECPM and the Organisation marocaine des droits humains (OMDH) published the report, “Voyage au cimetière des vivants” (Journey to the cemetery of the living).


Teaching and raising awareness

A dense and varied educational programme, aimed at secondary school and sixth-form students throughout the country, has been implemented over several years. Presentations in schools foster meetings with abolitionist figures and key witnesses in the struggle, such as Ahmed Haou, a former death row prisoner in Morocco.

A wide range of tools (educational guide for teachers, board game, trilingual comic strip on the conditions of detention of death row prisoners in Morocco and Tunisia), adapted to the Moroccan political and cultural context, are made available to the general public. These tools encourage young Moroccans to take part in the international competitions organised by ECPM (drawing competition, moot court competition, etc.).

Regional forums assembling many young people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are also organised, for example in Tunis in 2018, and in Fez in 2015.

Cultural initiatives are frequently organised to raise awareness of the general public: exhibitions of works opposing the death penalty, film festivals, theatrical performances. Particular attention is paid to articulating the abolitionist argument in the Moroccan context during public debates, to remind people that the death penalty is not a deterrent and has no genuine religious justification. For example, ECPM organised the first film festival on the death penalty in Rabat in 2015.


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The situation of death row prisoners

In Morocco’s contemporary history, the death penalty has been used as a tool of political repression. Today, death sentences are mainly handed down for blood crimes or crimes related to terrorism. At the end of 2020, according to official data, among the prisoners sentenced to death, 57 people had been sentenced to death for common crimes, and 19 others for terrorist acts.

The last execution in Morocco took place on 5 September 1993. Between 1954 and 1993, 54 executions were recorded, mainly of political opponents. Since 1993, Morocco has had a moratorium on executions, but courts continue to hand down death sentences on a regular basis. According to official statistics from the Ministry of Justice, between 2009 and 2019, 97 death sentences were handed down by Moroccan courts. The head of the public prosecutor’s office explains this evolution by the decrease in the number of death sentences as well as by the royal pardon measures that allow for the commutation of the death penalty to various prison sentences.

The King’s Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, President of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, said that the number of people sentenced to death continues to fall year by year, from 197 in 1993 to 79 in 2021. Noting that the death penalty is still in force at the level of the law, he said that judges are only obliged to apply the law as stipulated in the Basic Law. Judicial decisions are made solely on the basis of the impartial application of the law (Article 110 of the Constitution), while magistrates of the Public Prosecutor’s Office are obliged to apply the law and must comply with written instructions issued by the hierarchical authority, according to the text of the Constitution.

Few women have been sentenced to death since 1993. There are currently two women in prison. It is also quite rare that foreigners are sentenced to death. Currently four foreigners, including two Dutch nationals held in Marrakech prison and two French nationals sentenced to death, are detained. The consular assistance to which they are entitled, under the Vienna Convention (1963) on Consular Relations, is available to them insofar as the consular authorities, where they have representation in the country, are notified and likely to travel easily.

All reports

Abolition process
The process of abolishing the death penalty in member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Oct 2022
Human Rights Protection Mechanisms
Alternative report on the death penalty in view of the consideration of the periodic report of Morocco (41st Session 2022) (French)
Oct 2022
Human Rights Protection Mechanisms
Morocco, 27th session of the working group on the universal periodic review, Human rights council, may 2017
Oct 2022
Conditions of detention
Journey to the cemetery of the living: investigation on Morocco’s death row (French)
Oct 2022

All tools

Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia : from moratorium to abolition of the death penalty
Educating for the abolition of the death penalty and human rights in Morocco (French)
Presentation flyer of the Network of Lawyers Against the Death Penalty (French, Arab)
Abolition of the death penalty: A practical guide for NHRIs
Morocco: The death penalty in law and practice (French)
Conditions of detention for death row prisoners in Morocco are particularly harsh. In&nbsp;2013, a report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stated that detainees felt demeaned, marginalised and forgotten.
Proceedings 1st Regional congress – Rabat 2012

All news

Culture
Meet the winners of the 6th edition of the “Draw me abolition” competition!
16 June 2023
This year, around 500 young people from 10 different countries brought together their artistic talents and militant commitment to draw up the abolitionist posters of the future. From Austria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Indonesia, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda, our young artists demonstrated exceptional creativity! Among…
Advocacy, In the field
#ABOLITIONNOWTOUR: A look back on a year of activism around the world
01 December 2022
A year ago, ECPM launched an exceptional mobilisation of the world's youth, aimed at raising awareness among the new generation about the issues at stake in the abolition of the death penalty and to give new impetus to the fight led by the activists from the outset. Six delegations of…
cover 10 arguments for the abolition in arabic
Editorial / opinion page
ECPM publishes 10 arguments against the death penalty in Arabic
02 March 2022
As part of its project co-funded by the European Union, Norway and the French Development Agency, ECPM is publishing a leaflet against the death penalty in Arabic. The leaflet aims to strengthen awareness and advocacy among Arabic-speaking interlocutors and is available both print and online.
Poster Abolition Now Tour
In the field
#AbolitionNowTour : The Youth Stands Against the Death Penalty
24 February 2022
ECPM is glad to introduce an unprecedented experience! In the framework of the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, due in Berlin in November 2022, ECPM just wrapped up the #AbolitionNowTour: a unique mobilization programe intended for young people from Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and North America. The project targetted 6 countries…
Editorial / opinion page, Event, In the field
Regional parliamentary seminar in Morocco: The role of parliamentarians against the death penalty in the light of the provisions of the Constitution
15 March 2021
On 23 December 2020, a high-level seminar was held at the Ministry of Justice in Morocco. Organised by the Network of Parliamentarians Against the Death Penalty (RPCPM), in partnership with the Moroccan Coalition Against the Death Penalty (CMCPM), the Moroccan Organisation for Human Rights (OMDH) and Ensemble contre la peine…
cover publication
Publication
The process of abolishing the death penalty in member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
26 November 2020
As the 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers organised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is being held in Niamey, Niger, on 27 and 28 November 2020, ECPM and Nael Georges publish the study The process of abolishing the death penalty in member states of the Organisation…
In pictures, In the field
The 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty is already over, but the fight for abolition continues
14 October 2019
At the dawn of the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty, ECPM takes you around the world to campaign together for universal abolition. Under the map, find more details about the events we have supported! Follow the news of the abolition with the hashtag #AbolitionNow! Find out more about…
Coalition marocaine logo
Editorial / opinion page
31 Moroccan death row inmates pardoned by King Mohammed VI
02 August 2019
ECPM welcomes the pardon granted to 4764 people on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the reign of King Mohammed VI. Among these persons, there are 31 death row inmates for whom their sentences have been commuted to life imprisonment. However, there are still 60 others on death row…
Event
ECPM is in Morocco for a Parliamentary Regional Round Table
24 April 2019
On 24 April 2019, the Network of Parliamentarians against the Death Penalty in Morocco is organizing, with the support of the Moroccan Organisation for Human Rights and ECPM, a Regional Parliamentary Round Table in Rabat. The purpose of this meeting is to highlight the key role of parliamentarians in moving…