THE royal pardon will be conducted in a progressive manner and the beneficiaries will be made to quarantine in their own homes.
King Mohamed VI has agreed, this Sunday, to royally pardon 6,654 prisoners as a preventative measure to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. This is similar to Tunisia’s decision where Kais Said, the President, pardoned around 1,400 prisoners on March 31, and to Algeria’s chief of state’s decision to pardon a further 5,037 prisoners. In Libya, Abdelmayid Tebun also pardoned and released 466 prisoners.
The Moroccan Ministry of Interior explained that the royal pardon will be officiated in a progressive manner and that all prisoners must submit themselves to medical check-ups and stay at home for the remainder of the quarantine. However, the official statement does not clarify how the medical check-ups will take place, as Morocco has a limited amount of quick coronavirus tests, like the rest of countries suffering from the virus.
Today Morocco has registered a total of 960 positive cases and 66 deaths, however these figures remain relatively low in comparison to other countries suffering from this pandemic. Over the weekend Morocco has lost three medics as a result of the coronavirus.
The United Nations has recommended that these countries lower the number of prisoners, in their already over-saturated facilities, to avoid propagating the virus and to limit its spread. However, the state is yet to identify any cases within the prisons.
A typical prison cell in Magreb is shared between more than 20 individuals. According to the ICPR (Institute for Crime and Policy Research), Morocco has around 237 prisoners for every 100,000 residents, a number far higher than that of Spain (124), Tunisia (195), Egypt (116), and Saudi Arabia (197).
In Morocco, royal pardons are typical around these dates for festive holiday reasons. For example, in 2018 there were 4,080 prisoners who received this royal pardon, and in 2019, because of the new King’s arrival to the throne, the monarch pardoned almost 5,000 prisoners.
The Ministry of Justice assures that the criteria for a royal pardon is strictly based on age, health, and duration of their sentence as well as their “good behaviour and discipline.”
Morocco is a country which has taken the spread of the virus very seriously, on March 12 they closed all maritime and aviation borders, on March 13 they closed all educational centres and on March 16 the King declared the closure of all mosques, an action that had never been decreed in the history of its existence. On March 20 the nation entered a state of medical emergency and declared that residents could only leave home with a necessary and justified reason.