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Morocco

Yearbook 1999

Morocco. According to Countryaah official website, King Hassan II died July 23 in the complications of a heart attack. Hassan, who turned 70 and had ruled the country since 1961, was succeeded by his son Sidi Muhammad, who ascended the throne as King Muhammad VI. At King Hassan's funeral on July 25 came over 30 leaders from around the world, including US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

1999 Morocco

King Muhammad issued an amnesty in July, which resulted in nearly 8,000 prisoners being released from prison and over 38,000 getting their sentences shortened. Reportedly, many of those covered by amnesty were Islamists. The releases were in contrast to King Hassan's more harsh approach to the opposition. Just a month before the King's death, the country had stopped the international human rights organization Amnesty International's plans to hold its annual meeting in Morocco's capital Rabat. According to Amnesty, the reason was that the organization had criticized Morocco's treatment of incarcerated independence activists in Western Sahara.

King Muhammad also succeeded in luring Abraham Serfaty, one of the country's most influential oppositionists, back from his exile in France. Serfaty had been sentenced to life imprisonment for his hostile activities and expelled by King Hassan in 1991.

In November, King Muhammad dismissed Interior Minister Driss (Idris) Basri, who was considered by many judges to be the real ruler under King Hassan's rule.

 
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