Cablegate: Morocco: 2003 Annual Terrorism Report

Published: Fri 19 Dec 2003 11:43 AM
O 191143Z DEC 03
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 301352
1. Post responses are keyed to reftel.
(A) Significant actions taken by host government to support
the global coalition against terrorism.
The government of Morocco (GOM) continues to provide strong
support for the global coalition against terrorism.
Following the May 16, 2003 bombings in Casablanca, the GOM
acted swiftly in an effort to address perceived shortcomings
in the Moroccan judicial and security systems to combat
terrorism. These measures included enacting legislation
affording the government a range of stricter measures and
introducing a series of domestic reforms that will make it
more difficult in the future for terrorists to operate and
repeat their earlier attacks. Specifically, on May 21,
Morocco,s parliament passed a government-sponsored
anti-terrorism bill which expands the definition of terrorism
and related criminal activities, enhances the authority of
internal security institutions to investigate, track and
prosecute terrorists in Morocco, including the investigation
of terrorism financing, and provides for CT cooperation with
other countries.
Two new bills specifically focused on banking and
money-laundering are currently under discussion and will
serve to further enhance the ability of the GOM to address
terrorist financing. Parliament is currently studying a
Banking and Financial Sector bill and Embassy contacts have
indicated that this bill will likely be passed before the end
of the current session (January). The Anti-Money
Laundering legislation is in the interagency process and
should be submitted to Parliament by early January. The
current session of Parliament may be extended in order to
ensure the passage of this legislation. GOM officials have
asked for U.S. and international technical assistance on
anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing. Two
Department of Treasury Office of Technical Assistance
Training Missions were enthusiastically welcomed by the GOM
in June and November 2003 and Moroccan officials have
requested additional USG technical assistance and training.
(B) Describe the response of the judicial system to acts of
international and/or significant acts of domestic terrorism
during 2003.
The Casablanca bombing on May 16, 2003 claimed the lives of
45 people and injured over 100. The bombings prompted the GOM
to move aggressively against internal extremist
organizations. As a result of the galvanizing nature of the
May 16 attacks and the passage of the terrorism law, Moroccan
authorities detained over 900 suspected Islamic extremists
and prosecuted over 400 (including 10 who have been sentenced
to death).
(C) Did the host government extradite or request the
extradition of suspected terrorists for prosecution during
the year?
The GOM has sought the extradition from Spain of individuals
suspected of involvement in the May 16 terrorist attacks.
Following a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, the
Minister of Justice announced December 10 that Spain will
soon hand over five Moroccans wanted in connection with these
(D) Describe any significant impediments to host government
prosecution and/or extradition of suspected terrorists.
(E) Discuss host government responses other than prosecution.
The Moroccan Government is fully supportive of the global war
on terrorism. Following the Casablanca bombing King Mohammed
VI addressed the nation and said Morocco would remain
faithful to its international commitments to fight terrorism.
He also reminded the nation that jihad was "an effort to
disseminate good rather than spread the seeds of discord or
murder" and that tolerance "is one of the characteristics of
Islam, which forbids bloodshed." The King also promptly
condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul.
GOM authorities have tried to address the root causes of
extremism, beginning a nationwide literacy campaign 10 days
after the attacks and launching new housing projects in poor
Morocco is actively engaged in the Barcelona 5 5 process,
which among other goals seeks to increase security in the
Euro-Mediterranean area by reducing trafficking in persons
and narcotics, and impeding the movement of terrorists into
the region. Following Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar's visit to
Morocco in December, the two countries announced joint sea
patrols to curb trafficking and prevent terrorism.
The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security
Customs have a robust Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program
designed to assist Morocco better protect its borders.
(F) Describe major CT efforts undertaken in 2003 by the host
government, including steps taken in international fora.
Morocco has thus far ratified ten of the twelve UN
Conventions/Protocols on terrorism. The conventions
remaining to be ratified are the Convention against the
Taking of Hostages and the Convention for the Suppression of
Terrorist Bombings. The remaining conventions are on track
for full ratification. As recently as January 2003, the GOM
announced that it had ratified two additional UN Conventions
on Terrorism in 2002 (Convention on the Physical Protection
of Nuclear Material and the Convention for the Suppression of
the Financing of Terrorism). Morocco sent four officials
from the Ministries of Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs
to a USG-sponsored counterterrorism seminar in Bamako, Mali
in October.
(G) Describe any significant host government support for
international terrorism, terrorists, or terrorist groups.
(H) Has the host government made any public statements in
support of a terrorist-supporting country on a terrorism
(I) Describe any significant change since 2002 in the host
government,s attitude towards terrorism.
The May 16 terrorist attacks in Casablanca and the subsequent
investigations that led to the arrest of more than 900
suspects and the prosecution of over 400 people for terrorism
and acts of sedition shattered the myth in Morocco that
terrorism was a phenomenon that affected other countries and
could never happen here.
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