On April 10, Amnesty International presented its annual report on the death penalty around the world. Morocco registered a very slight decrease compared to the previous year.
In the kingdom, 93 people were under sentence of death last year, two people less than in 2017. Although no execution has occurred since 1993, recalls Amnesty, “the courts have pronounced ten death sentences” in 2018. Five fewer than the previous year. The kingdom is also one of 29 countries where convicts have benefited from grace or commutation, alongside Afghanistan, Sudan, the United States or the Maldives. According to data from the NGO, Morocco granted five graces last year.
In 2017, on the occasion of the release of its latest report, Amnesty International questioned the Moroccan government by sending a memorandum to Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani. In the latter, the NGO called on the country to definitively abolish capital punishment. She also urged the kingdom to vote in favor of the UN moratorium on executions with the aim of abolishing the death penalty. His call was not heard. On 17 December 2018, the UN Member States met for the final vote on the moratorium. The resolution for the abolition of the death penalty has been adopted. 121 countries voted in favor of the latter, including several African countries such as Algeria, Madagascar, Eritrea and Gabon. Morocco is among the 32 countries that abstained in the vote.
It is one of the countries “whose legislation provides for the death penalty for common crimes such as murder, but which can be considered abolitionist in practice because they have not executed for at least 10 years and seem to have the policy or established practice of refraining from any execution,” stresses Amnesty International. But “the death sentence is a sword of Damocles until the law abolishes it. Because, today, if it is not practiced (since 1993), nothing would prevent it in the legislation,” recalled last year the director general of the organization in Morocco, Mohamed Sektaoui.
Positive numbers in the region and globally
At the regional level, the Middle East / North Africa region recorded the largest decrease last year (41%), from 847 in 2017 to 501 in 2018. This is the “lowest figure” registered in the region,” says the report. According to the data that the NGO was able to collect, 5 countries are concerned by these executions: Saudi Arabia (about 149), Iraq (about 52), Egypt (about 43), Iran (about 253 ) and Yemen (data not available). In Iran, of those sentenced to death, 7 of them were under the age of 18 at the time of the offenses committed.
Globally, the numbers are dropping dramatically. In 2018, the number of executions recorded worldwide fell by more than 31%. This is even the lowest figure in at least 10 years. By the end of 2018, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in their legislation for all crimes. “The drop in the number of executions worldwide proves that even the most restive countries are beginning to change and realize that the death penalty is not the answer,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International General Secretary. “This gives hope that it is only a matter of time before this cruel and archaic punishment is relegated to the past.”
But the path is still long. In the United States (25), Japan (15), Singapore (13) and South Sudan, executions increased significantly in 2018. China is reported to be the country with the most executions, but figures are impossible to verify being classified as “state secret”, reminds Amnesty. For its part, Thailand has resumed executions after several years of arrest, the President of Sri Lanka announced to want to resume and, recently, the Sultanate of Brunei has authorized the death penalty by stoning for homosexuals or guilty of stoning. ‘adultery. A total of 19,000 people are still sentenced to death worldwide.