- anniversary - Morocco
AFP - Morocco's King Mohammed VI, on the eve of commemorations of his 10th anniversary on the throne, granted Wednesday pardons to 24,865 prisoners, and commuted 32 death sentences, the government said.
The Moroccan monarch traditionally gives hundreds, even thousands, of pardons to inmates each year as the country celebrates the Feast of the Throne.
In selecting who should be pardoned, the king took into account "humanitarian considerations in allowing the prisoners back into society," which led to the release of 517 women who are pregnant or have children and 137 minors, the justice ministry said in a statement.
In another "magnanimous gesture", Mohammed VI pardoned 659 inmates of different nationalities and commuted 32 death sentences to life imprisonment, the ministry said.
Moroccan courts still hand down death sentences but no execution has been carried out since 1994.
The 45-year-old king will celebrate Thursday 10 years since he was crowned king after the death of his father Hassan II.
Also on the eve of the anniversary, Mohammed VI named three new ministers and a secretary of state in a mini-cabinet reshuffle, which included two members of the country's Berber MP (Popular Movement) party.
Analysts said the appointments were to help secure for Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi the support of the Berbers in parliament.