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Morocco addresses decades of abuses

April 18, 2005 at 10:52 AM

RABAT, Morocco, April 18 (UPI) -- Morocco's government is grappling to address past human rights abuses while at the same time, meet international demands to battle terrorism.

Between independence in 1956 and the early 1980s, the government of King Hassan II locked up thousands of Marxists, rebellious military officers and others opposed to the monarchy. Many were tortured and killed, while others simply vanished.

Now his son and successor, King Mohammed VI, has encouraged public hearings, and the new Equity and Reconciliation Commission has so far filed more than 22,000 reports of repression, the Washington Post said Monday.

But the government is walking a thin line along with other Arab governments juggling rights issues along with relentless pressure from the United States to clamp down on terror cells.

"We are concerned and puzzled by this double talk on the part of the United States," Moroccan Justice Minister Mohamed Bouzoubaa told the newspaper. "If we do fight terrorism, we are told, 'You went too far.' If we don't, we are told, 'You have not done enough.'"

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