Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:06 am (KSA) 21:06 pm (GMT)

Morocco to restore former detention centers

Former ruler King Hassan II hand shakes the former French president Jacques Chirac (File)
Former ruler King Hassan II hand shakes the former French president Jacques Chirac (File)

Morocco on Wednesday launched a program to restore former secret detention centers as it seeks to deal with the legacy of past human rights abuses, the government said.

The centers, where opponents of former ruler King Hassan II were detained and tortured during his reign from 1961 and 1999, will be transformed into places of "preservation and rehabilitation of the (victims') memory" and cultural centers, according to an agreement signed by the culture ministry and the country's Consultative Council of Human Rights.

The EU has granted more than five million Euros (6.5 million dollars) for the project over the next five years, with the aim of encouraging "Morocco's reconciliation with its past", a culture ministry official said.

Since 2004, a number of torture victims have been compensated under the framework of the Equity and Reconciliation Committee.

NATO ships visit Morocco to boost ties

Five ships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) will dock in Casablanca from Thursday to boost ties with Morocco, especially in the fight against terrorism, NATO said Tuesday.

"This visit will allow NATO forces to develop cooperation with civil and military (Moroccan) authorities, by drawing on its excellent existing relationship," NATO said in a statement.

The relationship stems from NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue program, launched in 1994, which focuses on a regional contribution to fighting terrorism.

A joint training session between NATO forces and the Moroccan navy is also planned, according to the Dutch commander of SNMG2, Michiel Hijmans, who will be in Casablanca for the September 16-19 visit.

SNMG2 regularly participates in the Active Endeavour Operation, which fights against terrorism in the Mediterranean.

Since 2001, navy forces from NATO member states have patrolled the Mediterranean daily to thwart potential terrorist attacks.

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