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General introduction

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country located in the western region of North Africa. Morocco’s political system is a constitutional monarchy. The country is a Member State of the United Nations, the Arab league, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the International Organization of La Francophonie and the Union for the Mediterranean.

In the last two decades (corresponding to the reign of King Hassan II and the arrival of his son, King Mohammed VI), Morocco made progress in the area of human rights especially by providing more protective laws for its citizens. Nevertheless, human rights abuses continue to occur in Morocco, such as acts of torture, social repression, violations of procedural guarantees and other setbacks.

In the area of human rights, the 1900s and 2000s witnessed the signature and ratification of many treaties and agreements concerning the protection of human rights, including the signature of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on September 8, 2000. Also during this period, the Moroccan Equity and Reconciliation Commission has embarked on a substantial reconciliation process with victims and families of disappeared people, through investigations on acts of misconducts and abuses committed by the State.[1]

Further steps have been taken by Morocco, such as the creation of the Advisory Council on Human Rights on April 20, 1990,[2] the release of a great number of political detainees, the reform of the Family Code that improved the status of women in Morocco,[3] the adoption of Law n°43-04 defining and criminalizing torture and the drafting of the new Constitution in July 2011.[4]

Despite those positive developments, the respect and protection of human rights in Morocco remain weak and the results remain mixed. In the face of challenges posed in the fight against terrorism, the social protests[5] and the status of the Sahara,[6] certain instances still deplore existing violations of fundamental rights.

More recently, following the Arab Spring, Morocco has witnessed the emergence of a new social movement called the Movement of February 20th, calling for more democracy and social justice.[7] Morocco has responded in a number of ways to the actions of this pacifist movement, namely with violent interventions causing deaths in the regions of Séfrou, Safi and Al Hoceima.[8] The police is also said to be involved in using citizens as counter-demonstrators to disrupt the exercise of the right to demonstrate peacefully.[9]

It is, however, important to note that the Movement of February 20th opened the door to important legislative reforms in Morocco, such as the revision and adoption of a new Constitution in July 2011 and the adoption of a new Penal Procedure Code.[10]

Also, in the last years (since 2012), Morocco has authorized access to United Nations bodies in charge of the protection of human rights to visit Morocco and the Western Sahara. Moreover, on May 29, 2014, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at that time mentioned, after an official visit, Morocco’s “great strides towards the better promotion and protection of human rights” but also pointed out areas of concerns, notably the use of torture, some restrictions on freedom of expression and the necessity to adopt laws enforcing the legitimate rights set out by the 2011 Constitution.[11]

Finally, as in the past years, the United Nations Security Council renewed the peacekeeping mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (Resolution 690, 1991, of April 29 1991 [12]), but without broadening it to include the surveillance of human rights. Morocco is, for the time being, vehemently opposed to such surveillance.

Criminal procedure

The Penal Procedure Code (hereinafter “PPC”) includes all of Morocco’s relevant criminal procedure sections.[13] The PPC underwent an important reform in 2011 in an effort to integrate international norms and to better protect the rights of the accused. This objective has been laid out in the preamble of the PPC itself (French only):

“(…) la réforme de la loi de la procédure pénale de 1959 s’est axée autour de la nécessité de garantir un procès équitable, selon les normes internationales des droits des individus, d’une part, et de préserver l’intérêt général et l’ordre public d’autre part.”[14]

Morocco’s criminal procedure is divided into three phases: the inquiry phase, the pre-trial phase and the trial phase, which includes the enforcement of the sentence.

Each phrase has its own actor: the judiciary police is responsible for the inquiry phase, the royal prosecutor and the examining magistrate are more involved in the pre-trial phase and finally, the trial judges conduct the trial and the sentencing phase.

Inquiry phase

Moroccan judiciary police is in charge of the inquiry phase. It consists of receiving complaints and denunciations, record infringements and gathering evidence. As explained below, the judiciary police has increased powers in cases of crimes and acts that just occurred or are being committed. [15]

During the inquiry phase, the judiciary police is supervised by the royal prosecutor who has the authority to order measures infringing on the rights and freedoms of suspects, as explained below.

Seizures conducted for the purpose of the inquiry

In case of crimes or flagrant offences, the officers of the judiciary police may visit the home of any person who can be involved in the act or might detain information and can seize any pertinent object.[16] No authorization is necessary in those cases. However, if the seizure is carried during the preliminary inquiry of a non-flagrant act, the officers need to obtain the express authorization of the owner of the place where the seizure is occurring.[17]

In any case, the seizure needs to be conducted in the presence of the individual concerned or his or her designated representative. If the seizure is conducted at a fleeing individual’s home, the officers have to name two external persons to witness the search.[18] Unless otherwise stipulated, house searches cannot be conducted before 5 am and after 9 pm.[19]

Detention for the purpose of investigation

As part of the investigation, a police officer can detain a suspect of a crime or a serious offence (an offence punishable by imprisonment), for a maximum of 48 hours.[20] In cases of crimes and flagrant offences, any person necessary to the investigation can also be detained.[21] Before the expiration of the 48 hours detention, the individual detained has to be brought in front of the royal prosecutor who can then authorize in writing an extension of the detention for another 24 hours.[22]

Pre-trial phase

The pre-trial phase is obligatory in cases of crimes and optional in cases of offences.[23] During this phase, the examining magistrate will determine, at the request of the royal prosecutor, if there is enough evidence to bring the suspect to trial.[24]

During the pre-trial phase, the examining magistrate possesses broad investigation powers. As explained below, he can issue orders and warrants,[25] conduct pre-trial examinations of witnesses,[26] and conduct searches and seizures.[27]


The examining magistrate can deliver three types of warrants: a notice to appear in court, a notice to bring the witness in and an arrest warrant.

The notice to appear summons the suspect to appear in front of the magistrate at the date and time indicated on the warrant.[28]

The notice to bring a suspect in gives the police the right to bring the suspect in front of an examining magistrate who then has to conduct an examination of that suspect, without any delay.[29] If the examination cannot be conducted immediately, the suspect is brought into detention for a maximum of 24 hours. If the examination does not take place in the 24 hour timeframe, the suspect is brought in front of the royal prosecutor who will order the magistrate to proceed immediately to the examination, failing which the suspect has to be released.[30] Section 142 of the PPC indicates that a suspect arrested under a notice to bring in who is detained for more than 24 hours without being examined is considered as illegally detained.

After the examination and if the alleged offence is a crime or an offence punishable by imprisonment, the suspect can then be send into preventive detention.[31] The conditions and limits of such detention are explained below.

Finally, an arrest warrant can be issued if the suspect is on the run or if he lives outside of Morocco and if the alleged offence is a crime or an offence punishable by imprisonment.[32] The examination of a suspect arrested has to be conducted in the 48 hours following his arrest, failing which he will be considered illegally detained. [33]


The first examination of the suspect is conducted in front of an examining magistrate at the date and place indicated on the notice to appear. The magistrate has to inform the suspect of the facts alleged against him and of his right to remain silent. If the suspect wishes to make declarations, they will be recorded by the magistrate.[34]

During this initial examination the suspect can be assisted by a lawyer.[35] However, in the case of an emergency, such as a witness in danger of death or if there is evidence that is about to disappear, the examining magistrate has the right to immediately proceed to the suspect’s examination even in the absence of their lawyer.[36] At a later stage, however, the suspect cannot be heard or confronted in the absence of their lawyer unless they expressly gave up their right to a counsel.[37]

Finally, the examining magistrate can also call in any witness whose statements could be useful to the case and can examine them.[38] These statements take place away from the presence of the suspect.[39]


Seizures conducted during the pre-trial phase are subject to the same conditions as the seizures conducted during the investigation phase.[40] Section 104 of the PPC does, however, specify that all documents and objects seized during the pre-trial phase must be identified and sealed. The seals can only be opened in the presence of the suspect and their lawyer.

The examining magistrate only maintains the seizures of the objects and documents necessary to the discovery of the truth and of those that, if disclosed, would undermine the ongoing investigation.

It is important to note that the pre-trial phase in Morocco is secret, written and conducted as an inquisition. The suspect has no opportunity to contest the evidence gathered against him during this phase. [41]

Finally, once the magistrate ends his investigation, he gives his recommendation to the public ministry in the form of an order indicating if there is enough evidence against the suspect to prosecute him, or not.[42]

Preventive custody

After their first appearance and examination the suspect can be release until trial or placed in preventive custody.[43]

A statutory release can be ordered by the examining magistrate on the advice of the royal prosecutor. The suspect has to inform the court of all his whereabouts, has to appear when required and can be asked to provide a personal guarantee. [44]

Preventive custody is an extreme measure.[45] A person suspected of committing an offence that carries a sentence of less than two years of imprisonment and that has never been convicted of a crime cannot be detained for more than ten days after their first appearance.[46] If a suspect has previously been convicted of a crime they can be detained for up to three months.[47] In all other cases the detention cannot exceed two months.[48]

Upon expiration of this period and if continued detention appears necessary, the magistrate may extent it with a reasoned order upon a reasoned request from the royal prosecutor. This extension cannot exceed an additional two months. [49]

The suspect or their lawyer can also ask the court for a provisional release at any time during the proceedings subject to the rules set out at sections 156 and 157 PPC.

End of the pre-trial phase

As indicated by section 196 PPC, at the end of the pre-trial phase, the examining magistrate can dismiss the charges if he considers that the facts do not represent a crime, an offence or a misdemeanor, if there is no sufficient evidence against the suspect or if the author of the crime remains unknown.

In such cases, all suspects detained are immediately released. The magistrate also decides on the return of the objects and documents seized.

If the examining magistrate considers that a crime, an offence or a misdemeanor has been committed, he submits the file to the competent court depending on the facts.[50] At this point, the suspect has a right to appeal in front of the criminal court of the charges against him. [51]


In Morocco, criminal trials are public unless the defendant asks for a private trial.[52] Criminal court is comprised of a president, two deciding judges, four jurors drawn from a public list, one representative of the Public Ministry and one court clerk. [53]

When a criminal case is ready for trial, it must be submitted to the criminal court for the next available session. The Criminal court holds a session every three months.

At trial, the evidence is presented and debated by both parties. The deciding judges can only base their decision on the evidence presented at trial and discussed orally in front of the court.[54]

The trial starts with the examination of the defendant, followed by the hearings of the witnesses and experts and finally the presentation of the exhibits.[55] In all cases, the defendant has the right to speak last.[56]


The final decision is rendered public and must indicate the statements of facts and law on which the decision is based, even in the case of an acquittal.[57]

Judgments of acquittal or stay of proceedings result in the immediate release of the defendant unless the detention is necessary for another case. Furthermore, no person acquitted or pardoned can be prosecuted later for the same facts (no double jeopardy).[58]


There are three types of infractions in Morocco: crimes, offences or misdemeanors. The applicable sentence is the one existing at the time of the occurrence of the infraction, unless the current Criminal Code indicates a lighter sentence.[59]

Criminal acts in Morocco may be punishable by death, life imprisonment, imprisonment for 5 to 30 years, assigned residence and deprivation of some civil rights such as voting.[60]

Offences are punishable by imprisonment a period between less than one month and up to maximum 5 years, and/or a fine of maximum 1 200 dirhams. [61]

Misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 29 days of imprisonment and/or a fine of 30 to 1 200 dirhams.[62]

The detailed sentences applicable to each type of case can be found in Books 1 and II of the Moroccan Criminal Code.[63]

Rights of the Accused at All Times

Double jeopardy

As mentioned above, in Morocco, a defendant cannot be tried again on the same (or similar) charges in the same case following a legitimate acquittal or conviction.[64] The double jeopardy principle refers to the binding force of the res judicata, which is intended to protect the defendant’s individual liberties.

Legality principle

The legality principle is expressly provided in Article 3 of the Moroccan Criminal Law code, which specifies, “No crime can be committed, nor punishment imposed, without a pre-existing penal law.”[65] Furthermore the Article 4 provides that “one cannot face the imposition of criminal sanctions for acts or omissions that were not expressly provided, nor criminal at the time of their commission or omission.” [66]

Presumption of innocence

Morocco ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on May 3rd, 1979 and published it in the Official Bulletin dated May 21, 1980. This Covenant issues in its article 14 a series of procedural guarantees in favor of the individual charged with felony, including the presumption of innocence. However, the presumption of innocence is nowhere to be found in Moroccan law. Regarding the status of international Treaties in Morocco, no single constitutional provision mentions the automatic application of international conventions in Moroccan law. Moroccan judges remain very reluctant to base their decisions on international texts. [67]

Standards of proof and standards for conviction

Article 80 of the CCP provides that police officers, either ordered by the King’s prosecutor, or automatically, conduct preliminary inquiries. The Chief of the general public prosecutor’s office is in charge of supervising these operations.

Article 81 provides that house searches, house visitations and seizures of incriminating evidence may not be carried out without the consent of the person whose house it is. This consent must be written in the hand of the interested party; if he cannot write, this is mentioned in the report along with his consent.[68]

After its visit in Morocco and Western Sahara in December 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has reached the conclusion that:

“ The Moroccan criminal system rests largely on confessions as the principal source of incriminating evidence. The complaints received by the Working Group show the use of torture by the State agents in order to obtain evidence or confession during the initial phase of interrogatories (…). The courts and prosecutors do not respect the obligation to automatically open an investigation when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the confessions were obtained by torture and abuse.” [69]

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has indicated that the authorities allowed it to get into the detention locations it requested, and to privately question the inmates of its choice.

Procedure with witnesses

The CCP provides in Section IV, article 109, that “the investigating judge may summon, through an agent of the forces of law and order, any person whose deposition seems useful to him. A copy of the summons is delivered to them. The witnesses may also be summoned by simple letter or through the administrative path; moreover they may appear voluntarily.” [70] Furthermore, article 111 provides that witnesses are to be heard separately and without the presence of the accused, by the investigating judge assisted by his clerk. A report of their statements is recorded.[71] Article 118 provides that the judge may call out the witness, confront him to other witnesses or the accused and conduct, with their assistance, any operations or reconstructions useful to the truth. [72]

Lastly, article 121 provides that when a witness does not appear and after a second summons addressed to him is not answered, the Investigating judge on request of the King’s prosecutor can, either by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, or by summon notified by an agent of the Notifications Office, compel him to appear by public forces and sentence him to a 1.000 to 20.000 francs fine.[73] This sentence is pronounced by an order that may not be appealed. Nonetheless, if he appears later on, the witness may, on production of his apologies and justification, be released of the fine in whole or in part by the investigating judge, after requisitions by the King’s prosecutor.

Capital Punishment

The death penalty has always existed in Morocco. The Moroccan Criminal Code provides for the death penalty by shooting for: aggravated homicide, torture, armed robbery, criminal fire, treason, desertion, including certain types of attacks against the King or any member of his family (in the strict sense, as defined by the Criminal Code). Between 1956 and 1993, 198 people have been both sentenced to death and executed. However, since 1993, none of the people that were sentenced to death have been executed.[74]

According to Article 20 of the last Constitution of 2011: “The right to life is the first right of any human being. The law protects this right.” [75] Thus, Amina Bouayach, Moroccan activist for human rights, suggests that this article clearly means that the death penalty should no longer exist in Morocco.[76] However, on December 22, 2017, Mustapha Ramid, Moroccan Minister of Justice, addressed the Moroccan Parliament and said the principle of the right to life was by no means in contradiction with the death penalty, but subject to rules and conditions.[77]

Fair Trial Rights

Freedom from Prolonged Pre-trial Detention

The CCP provides in its Section VII, article 153, as regards to torts, when the maximum statutory sentence is less than two years of imprisonment an accused residing in Morocco may not be held in detention for more than ten days after his first appearance before the investigating judge if he has not already been convicted for a crime, or for over three months from for a common law offense.[78] The code does not provide the alternative detention duration for non-residents.

In the other cases than those provided by the previous article, article 154 provides that pre-trial detention may not exceed two months. After expiration of the deadline, if maintenance in detention appears necessary, the investigation judge may extend it by order especially motivated, rendered on request motivated by the King’s prosecutor. Prosecutors may request as many as five additional two-month extensions of pretrial detention.[79] Prosecutors may request up to five two-month extensions for pre-trial detention, up to a maximum of one year. However, it has been reported that the authorities regularly keep defendants in custody beyond the one-year limitation.[80]

The governmental officials allocated these delays to the important accumulation of pending files and the large backlog of cases in the justice system.[81] The Foreign Secretary stated that several factors contributed to this congestion: a lack of resources devoted to the justice system, human as well as infrastructural; the absence of negotiation possibilities for defence and for the prosecutors; the lengthening of the necessary time to instruct cases on average and; the weak recourse to other devices of extrajudicial resolution sanctioned by the law, such as mediation and arbitration. In a report published in 2012, the International Federation for Human Rights estimated that around 50% of the inmates were in pre-trial detention. In some cases, the sentence imposed to the convict was shorter than the amount of time spent in pre-trial detention. The Moroccan Organization for Human Rights kept reporting that over half of the minors incarcerated were in pre-trial detention. Sometimes, the authorities even held the minors up to eight months before their actual trial.[82]

Freedom from Punishment

The Moroccan Constitution and Law prohibit the use of torture and the public authorities deny any such practices (Article 22 of the Constitution and article 231-1 of the Criminal Code).[83] Several credible narratives regarding cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments against prisoners and inmates confirmed the existence of a “common practice of torture and ill treatments, particularly in cases in connection to national security.” [84]

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council raised the issue of a “systematic practice of torture acts and ill treatments during arrest and detention.” [85]

In September 2012, following an eight-day visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, stated that he had received credible testimonies according to which inmates were subject to unjustified mental and physical pressures during interrogations. He noted in his report on these visits that the recourse to “torture acts and ill treatments during arrest and detention often occurred in case of threat to national security, terrorism or mass demonstrations”. [86]

Right to Counsel

Regarding the right to counsel during police custody, Articles 73 and 74 of the CCP establish that the accused appearing before the prosecutor may designate an attorney to assist him throughout the questioning (the Criminal Chamber appoints once in case of obvious crime if the accused fails to.)[87] The current CCP (articles 66 and 80) also introduced the possibility of access to counsel during questionings with Criminal Investigation Department officers. However, this right is quite limited: the accused may only contact an attorney after the first hour of the custody extension.[88]

An accused’s attorney may produce documents or written observations to the Criminal Investigation Department or to the State Prosecutor in order to add them to the report.

However, this right does not come without limitations: the accused may contact his attorney once only; the consultation may only last up to thirty minutes and is conducted under the watch of the police. Furthermore, the public prosecutor’s office needs to consent to it. [89] These limitations take away this consultation’s main objective, i.e. to prevent abuse, such as the obtaining of confessions or information under duress, among other the ill treatments.

The law permits authorities to deny defendants’ access to counsel or family members during the initial 96 hours of detention under terrorism-related laws or during the initial 24 hours of detention for other charges, with an optional extension of 12 hours with the approval of the Prosecutor’s Office.[90]

Right to Medical Care

Articles 73 and 74 of the CCP provide the accused with the right to request a doctor’s examination from the public prosecutor’s office.[91] This crucial disposition is likely destined for a preventive role, considering that the examination may reveal violence traces. The members of the Criminal Investigation Department have to conduct their investigations in the strict respect of physical and moral integrity of the accused.

The King’s prosecutor must order a medical examination as soon as an ill-treatment act is reported to him, or if he’s asked to investigate (article 74§8). Similarly, article 234§5 commands the investigation judge to order an immediate medical examination if there are signs of torture. In practice, medical examinations following reported cases of torture are rare and always late.[92] The examination may occur between the time of police questioning and the first appearance of the accused before the public prosecutor’s office.[93]

Right to a Fair Trial

The right to a fair trial principle is stated in the Preamble of the 22-01 Legislation enacting the CCP, providing that “the statutory reform of the 1959 criminal procedure is centered on the necessity of guaranteeing a fair trial according to the international norms of the individuals’ rights on the one hand, and to preserve the public interest on the other.” [94] 

Right to Appeal

The Moroccan appellate court structure consists of 21 Courts of Appeal.[95] A Bureau of the National Mediator (Mediator Institution), created in March 2011, contributes to the dealing of civil cases when the judiciary cannot do so and it progressively extended the impact of its activities. In 2014, the Bureau received 9837 complaints, among which 79% did not pertain to its competence.[96] Thus, the Bureau processed 2078 letters of protest against the Judiciary and three quarters of these originated from individual.[97]

Right to an Impartial Judge

The law prohibits judges to admit as evidence, confessions obtained under duress.[98] However, in its August 4th Report of 2012, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that many accused were convicted of exclusively based on such confessions.[99] Human Rights Watch and local NGOs have accused judges of making rulings based on forced confessions. Human Rights Watch pointed out that this frequently occurred in matters involving Sahrawi citizens or persons charged with terrorism. In its June 2013 Report on inquisitorial trials based on confessions, Human Rights Watch reached the conclusion that judges and the State Prosecutor constantly rejected complaints of abuse and ill-treatments by the police or refused to open investigations about it. [100]Because of the important shortage of medical, mortuary and psychiatric competences, it was practically impossible to gather credible evidence of ill-treatments likely to be admissible in Court.

On August 12, 2012, a Court convicted the left activist Wafae Charaf to a one-year imprisonment sentence and a fine, along with damages, for slander and deceitful allegation, following the complaint she filed after some strangers abducted and tortured her at the end of a workers demonstration in April in Tanger. Convicted on appeal on October 20 by this town’s court, Charaf’s sentence was doubled.[101]

A Casablanca Court also convicted Oussama Housne, member of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, to three years of imprisonment, a fine and money damages based on the same charges, after he mentioned having been abducted and tortured by strangers.[102] The sentences in both cases might have a deterrent impact on people willing to press charges for abuse.

International Instruments ratified

Morocco is a party to several United Nations Conventions: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (both signed in 1977 and ratified on May 3, 1979[103]); the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (signed in 1967 and ratified in 1970); the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed in 1990 and ratified in 1993); the Convention against Torture (signed in 1986 and ratified in 1993); the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (signed in 1991 and ratified in 1993).[104]

Rights in prison

Conditions of Confinement

The prison population in Morocco reached 62.000 inmates in 2014.[105] According to several sources, the conditions of confinement are extremely tough, especially because of the great overpopulation (fail to meet international standards), an issue made even worse since judges often order pre-trial detention of the suspects. The Human Rights National Council (HRNC) urged the government to promote alternative sentences and indicated that the prison pollution reached 72.000 people in 2013, of which 42% are in pre-trial detention with an average of 18 square feet of space per inmate.[106] The HRNC is an organization financed by the State relying on the King.

The overpopulation leads to poor hygiene conditions and inadequate feeding of the inmates. People held in pre-trial detention and convicted inmates were often held together.. There was no information regarding the availability of drinking water.[107]

Several NGOs for human rights defense, including the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) and a Parliamentary Commission- the Moroccan Observatory of Prisons- have continued reporting that prisons were overpopulated, likely to become violence areas and did not comply with the local and international norms. [108]

The inmates frequently resort to hunger strike in order to demander better confinement conditions or to protest against the length of pre-trial detention.[109] Most of the hunger strikes have stopped after a few days following the concessions made by the governmental and prison authorities.[110] The penitentiary authorities used to serve three meals a day to inmates, but the quantities of food were insufficient and inmates would leave it up to their friends and family to bring them food on a regular basis.[111]

Right to medical care in prison

According to the HRNC,[112] penitentiary facilities did not provide detainees with enough access to medical care and did not meet the disabled prisoners’ needs, despite the fact that governmental sources claimed that each inmate benefited from 3-4 medical consults on average, with a health professional throughout the first seven months of the years.

The authorities reported that 93 inmates, among which 83 were hospitalized, had died in prison in 2012. Local NGOs have been unable to confirm these numbers.[113] The governmental authorities acknowledged that it was complicated to provide adequate medical care in such overpopulation conditions.[114]

Restriction of Prisoners’ Rights

In a 2012 Report, the CNDH indicated that it observed “the persistence of abuse towards inmates committed by the prison staff.” [115] The CNDH added that prison guards were hitting the inmates with sticks and pipes, hanging them on doors with handcuffs, inflict them with punches to the sole of the foot, forcing them to undress in front of other inmates, and using insults and malicious expressions towards them. The CNDH also noted that these abuses continued in most of the prisons,[116] except those of Inezgane and Dakhla, “where only isolated cases were recorded.” [117] Several reports of NGOs and articles in the media have supported these observations with abuse and torture acts narratives and committed by public forces on persons under their watch, particularly during pre-trial detention.


  5., page 7
  9. World Organisation Against Torture, Evaluation de la mise en oeuvre de la Convention contre la torture et autre peine ou traitement cruel, inhumain ou dégradant par le Maroc, November 2011, page 5 available at: [accessed 24 March 2017]
  10. Maroc: Code de procédure pénale [], Dahir n° 1-58-261 du 1er chaabane 1378 (10 février 1959), 10 February 1959, available at: [accessed 24 March 2017]
  11. United Nations Humane Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at a press conference in Rabat, Morocco, 29 May 2014, available at:;
  13. Maroc: Code de procédure pénale, Dahir n° 1-58-261, the latest version (2011) is available only in Arabic, non-official French version available at:;
  14. Id.: “the reform of the 1959 Code revolves around the necessity of guaranteeing fair trials in accordance with international law on one hand, and on the other to preserve public order.”
  15. Id., see definition of flagrant offences at section 58;
  16. Id., section 61;
  17. Id., section 81;
  18. Id., section 62;
  19. Id., section 64;
  20. Id., sections 68 and 82;
  21. Id., section 68;
  22. Id., sections 68 and 82;
  23. Id., section 84; Crimes, such as murder in the first degree, are considered the most serious violations of the law while offences, such as obscenity, are infractions of lesser importance, see Maroc: Code Pénal, 26 November 1962, consolidated version of September 15, 2001, available at:, section 7;
  24. Id., section 85;
  25. Id., sections 135 and following;
  26. Id., sections 109 and following;
  27. Id., section 86;
  28. Id., section 137;
  29. Id., section 139;
  30. Id., section 140;
  31. Id., section 146;
  32. Id., section 147;
  33. Id., section 149;
  34. Id., sections 127 and 128;
  35. Id., section 127;
  36. Id., section 128;
  37. Id., section 132;
  38. Id., section 109;
  39. Id., section 111;
  40. Id., sections 62 and 64;
  41. Id., section 15;
  42. Id., sections 197 and 200;
  43. Id., section 155;
  44. Id., section 155;
  45. Id., section 152;
  46. Id., section 153;
  47. Id
  48. Id., section 154;
  49. Id., section 154;
  50. Id., sections 197 and 200;
  51. Id., section 206;
  52. Id., section 301;
  53. Id., sections 437 and 438;
  54. Id., section 289;
  55. Id., section 305;
  56. Id., section 306;
  57. Id., sections 346 and 348;
  58. Id., section 351;
  59. Maroc: Code Pénal, 26 November 1962, consolidated version of September 15, 2001, available at:, section 7;
  60. Id., sections 16 and 26;
  61. Id., section 17;
  62. Id., section 18;
  63. Id
  64. Id., see Note 10, section 351;
  65. Id., see Note 59, section 3;
  66. Id., section 4;
  67. World Organisation Against Torture, Evaluation de la mise en oeuvre de la Convention contre la torture et autre peine ou traitement cruel, inhumain ou dégradant par le Maroc, November 2011, available at:
  68. Id., section 81;
  69. Report of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention- Mission to Morocco: Page 10, Section C:,d.cGw;
  70. See note 10, section 109;
  71. Id., section 111;
  72. Id., section 118;
  73. Id., section 121;
  78. See note 10, section 153;
  79. Id., section 154;
  81. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 9:
  82. See note 58, page 13, section E;
  83. Maroc: Code Pénal, 26 November 1962, consolidated version of September 15, 2001, available at:, section 231-1. Moroccan Constitution, 2011 version available at:
  84. Comité Marocain contre la torture, page 20, section 3.3:énal&coi=MAR;
  85. See note 53;
  86. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 3:
  87. See note 10, sections 73 and 74;
  88. Id., sections 66 and 80;
  89. World Organisation Against Torture, Evaluation de la mise en oeuvre de la Convention contre la torture et autre peine ou traitement cruel, inhumain ou dégradant par le Maroc, November 2011, page 13, available at:;
  90. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 8:
  91. Id., sections 73 and 74;
  92. World Organisation Against Torture, Evaluation de la mise en oeuvre de la Convention contre la torture et autre peine ou traitement cruel, inhumain ou dégradant par le Maroc, November 2011, page 13, available at:
  93. Id., section 234§5;
  94. Id., Preamble;
  98. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 10:
  99. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 11:
  100. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, page 3:
  105. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:
  106. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:
  107. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:
  108. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:
  109. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 7:
  110. Id., see note 63, page 20, section 3.3;
  111. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:
  112. Id., see note 71;
  113. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 7:
  114. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 7:
  115. Id., see note 71; There are 76 prisons in Morocco and 62775 inmates
  116. Morocco 2014 Human Rights Report, page 5:;
  117. Id., see note 71.