King of Morocco Pardons 33 Prisoners.
Morocco pardoned 33 prisoners on Wednesday, including a prominent journalist, drawing praise from frequently critical human rights groups.
The palace ordered the release of Ali Lmrabet whose imprisonment had captured widespread attention. Lmrabet, editor of two satirical papers, had been serving a three-year sentence for ``insulting the king.''
Among others pardoned were six more journalists and two human rights activists.
The pardons came as Morocco officially installed a commission to examine human rights cases. Among other things the commission's work includes identifying cases of disappearances and arbitrary sentences, locating detention sites and assisting survivors.
Amnesty International and media advocacy organization Reporters without Borders earlier spoke out against Lmrabet's imprisonment. He has been behind bars since May, and Amnesty said he had undertaken a hunger strike.
Amnesty praised the pardons as a ``significant step in the right direction,'' but said more must be done.
Source: NY Times Online, NY, Usa, 07Jan04
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