Morocco and Western Sahara
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  • Country profile

Overview

The authorities harassed journalists, bloggers, artists and activists for expressing their views peacefully, sentencing at least five to prison terms for “insulting” public officials and apparently targeting others with spyware. They restricted the rights to freedom of association and assembly by preventing some groups critical of the authorities from operating and using unnecessary or excessive force to disperse demonstrations in Morocco and Western Sahara. Following an unfair trial, a court upheld prison sentences of up to 20 years against 43 people convicted in relation to social justice protests in 2017 in the northern Rif region. Security forces arrested and detained thousands of migrants, forcibly transferring some to the south of Morocco and others to other countries. Women continued to face discrimination, including sexual and other gender-based violence, and prison sentences were issued in relation to alleged illegal abortions. Police continued to harass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) people; same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults remained a criminal offence. A new law confirmed Amazigh as an official language, alongside Arabic. Courts handed down death sentences; there were no executions. The Polisario Front, which administers camps in Algeria for refugees from Western Sahara, detained at least two critics.

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Death penalty status

Abolitionist in practice

Retains the death penalty in law, but hasn’t executed for at least 10 years

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SARA HASHASH AND MOHAMMED ABUNAJELA

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