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Morocco human rights record criticized

April 8, 2004 at 10:29 PM

CASABLANCA, Morocco, April 8 (UPI) -- Human rights groups are criticizing the Moroccan government for undermining freedom of expression in its fight against terrorists, the BBC said Thursday.

Moroccan Human Rights Association spokesman Abdel Ilah Benabdeslam said journalists and people defending human rights are being repressed, while

suspected Islamic militants are being kidnapped and tortured by the authorities.

Four people were sentenced to death in connection with bombings in which about 45 people were killed in Casablanca in five simultaneous attacks.

The association's report for 2003 said arrests of Muslim fundamentalists are followed by unfair trials and heavy sentences that can include capital punishment.

The human rights group, however, said there had been improvements in Morocco, under King Mohammed VI, who acceded to the throne in 1999 on the death of his father, Hassan II.

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