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There were no new cases of confirmed disappearance; however the large increase in detainees and prisoners has resulted in an increase in allegations of disappearance that were, by their nature, difficult to confirm. For example, in its statement to the U.N. Committee against Torture in November, the OMDH cited the case of Mohamed Damir, whose brother was sentenced to death in connection with an Islamist group, who disappeared after the May attacks. His family had still not received any news from him at year's end.
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) claimed that the continued practice of incommunicado detention without informing family members of those detained confirmed the continued practice of forced disappearance (see Section 1.d.). According to Amnesty International (AI), the DST practice is to deny holding the person in question, particularly those held in the DST detention center in Temara. In such cases, family members and lawyers usually learned of the detention after the detainee was brought before a magistrate, charged and placed in pre-trial detention; in this context, the secret detention amounted to a period of disappearance.
The forced disappearance of individuals who opposed the Government and its policies occurred during several decades. In 1997, the Government pledged that such activities would not recur, and that it would disclose as much information as possible about past cases. The Government provided information and death certificates for many of those who had disappeared over the years. However, hundreds of families did not have any information about their missing relatives, many of whom disappeared over 20 years ago. Authorities stated that they released information on all 112 confirmed disappearance cases. However, human rights groups and families continue to claim hundreds more cases of disappearances, many from the Western Sahara
The CCDH also was responsible for assisting the Royal Arbitration Commission in providing compensation to victims of past human rights abuses, or their surviving family members, including Sahrawis.
According to the Ministry of Human Rights, the Commission had resolved 4677 cases, in which 3657 claimants were awarded $ 94.5 million (945 million DH). The Commission rejected 885 cases because they did not involve disappearances or arbitrary detention and 133 cases because the claimants did not respond to a summons to appear before the Commission or did not supply documentation.
Two cases were suspended, and a further 450 were considered to be duplicates.
The Arbitration Commission did not review a further 6500 requests for compensation because they were received after the December 31, 1999 application deadline.
Associations that sought information regarding those who have disappeared called upon the Government for full disclosure of events surrounding cases that date back to the 1960s. Associations in the Western Sahara that sought information on disappearances were not free from government interference; there were reports that some members of these associations were harassed and intimidated while seeking information regarding missing Sahrawis. Some also continued to be denied passports (see Section 2.d.).
In November, the CCDH announced the formation of a Justice and Reconciliation Committee to replace the Arbitration Commission and whose purpose would be to settle definitively serious violations of human rights, including compensation for all outstanding cases of arbitrary detention and disappearance, prior to the King's assumption of the throne in 1999 (see Section 4.
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