Morocco. In May, 36 members of the independent human
rights organization AMDH (Moroccan Human Rights Association)
were sentenced to three months imprisonment for
demonstrating in Rabat in December 2000 on UN Human Rights
Day. The judges aroused international protests, and all 36
were released in November by a higher court.
Countryaah, Former Moroccan agent Ahmad Bukhari said in a June
interview that state officials in the 1960s were involved in
the assassinations of several opposites. After the
interview, Bukhari was sentenced to one year in prison for
trying to redeem checks that lacked coverage. He later
received his sentence reduced to three months.
During the year, more and more refugees traveled
illegally across Gibraltar from M. to Spain, despite the
fact that M. and Spain agreed in July that up to 20,000
Moroccans would be granted work permits in Spain each year.
In early September, a boat with 60 people capsized on
board; all but one was feared to have drowned.
A diplomatic crisis ensued in which Spain accused the
Moroccan police of engaging in refugee smuggling and
demanded increased efforts on the Moroccan coast. In
November, M. called home his ambassador from Spain. Several
Spanish aid projects in M. were put on ice.
King Muhammad VI promised in July to establish an
authority with the task of guarding the cultural rights of
the Berbers. In October, the Royal Institute for Tamazight
Culture was inaugurated.
King Muhammad visited Mauritania in early September.
Relations between the countries have been strained since M.
occupied Western Sahara in 1975.
Representatives of nearly 180 countries gathered in
Marrakech in early November for a conference on the
so-called Kyoto Protocol.
King Muhammad announced in October that in early 2002 he
will marry a woman of the people, the engineer Salma Bannani