In Morocco 96 prisoners have tasted freedom sooner than they thought after a request for their release by the National Council of Human Rights was accepted.
King Mohammed VI responded by pardoning the 96. Also, while five inmates had their death sentences quashed, a further 89 had their sentences reduced.
Rights groups claim suspects held under Morocco’s anti-terrorism laws are routinely subjected to human rights violations.
Mohammed VI took the decision as the country is going through small-scale but persistent protests by groups demanding greater democracy.
Recent events in the Arab world are believed to have played a part in the decision to release the inmates.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy but the king has wide ranging executive powers, including the right to dissolve parliament at will.