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Morocco

Yearbook 1999

Morocco. According to Countryaah official website, King Hassan II died July 23 in the complications of a heart attack. Hassan, who turned 70 and had ruled the country since 1961, was succeeded by his son Sidi Muhammad, who ascended the throne as King Muhammad VI. At King Hassan's funeral on July 25 came over 30 leaders from around the world, including US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

1999 Morocco

King Muhammad issued an amnesty in July, which resulted in nearly 8,000 prisoners being released from prison and over 38,000 getting their sentences shortened. Reportedly, many of those covered by amnesty were Islamists. The releases were in contrast to King Hassan's more harsh approach to the opposition. Just a month before the King's death, the country had stopped the international human rights organization Amnesty International's plans to hold its annual meeting in Morocco's capital Rabat. According to Amnesty, the reason was that the organization had criticized Morocco's treatment of incarcerated independence activists in Western Sahara.

King Muhammad also succeeded in luring Abraham Serfaty, one of the country's most influential oppositionists, back from his exile in France. Serfaty had been sentenced to life imprisonment for his hostile activities and expelled by King Hassan in 1991.

In November, King Muhammad dismissed Interior Minister Driss (Idris) Basri, who was considered by many judges to be the real ruler under King Hassan's rule.

Rabat

Rabat, Al-Ribat, the capital of Morocco; 621,000 inb.; about 2.5 million in the metropolitan area (2003). Rabat is one of Morocco's king cities and the place where the current king has his residence. It is the country's political and administrative center and contains several educational and cultural institutions, including Muhammad 5th University, National Library and Conservatory of Music, Dance and Theater. Economically, however, it stands somewhat in the shadow of the nearby and much larger city of Casablanca.

The old town, the medina, lies with its winding streets and partly surrounded by an old city wall, where the river Oued Bou Regreg opens into the Atlantic Ocean. It includes an old Jewish quarter, and towards the NE the fort of the Oudaians crosses the river. The newer neighborhoods are spreading to the south and east. the royal palace of the 1950's.

Rabat is also one of Morocco's industrial centers. textile and food industry besides carpet weaving and leather crafts

The history of Rabat is closely related to the city of Salé (880,000 residents (2003)). Salé is on the other side of the river; together they form the double city of Rabat-Salé. In the first place was the Roman Sala; Salé was founded in 900-t. Rabat itself was brought in 1100-t. of the Almohads, and it developed into an important center of trade and crafts. In the early 1600's, the city was a haven for Moors expelled by Spain. When Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912, Rabat became the new administrative center and capital of the protectorate. As a result, the city grew and a whole new, modern city was created up against the old Arab.

 

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