Morocco's judges call for legal reform

More than half of Morocco's judges signed a petition on Monday that calls for prosecutors to be allowed to operate independently of the executive branch — a reform many say is necessary to prevent judicial corruption.

The Moroccan government and royal family are seen to have inordinate power over the judiciary through promotions and salaries, and it is believed that many verdicts follow the will of the executive branch.

Protesters involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011 made the reform of the judiciary and increasing its independence a key demand. A new constitution promoted by the king to meet protesters' demands includes elements of reform, but the judges claim they have yet to be implemented.

The 1,800 members of Morocco's judges' club, a banned but tolerated association, signed the petition calling for the pledges to be fulfilled.

"We are simply asking for the application of the articles in the new constitution," Yassine Mkhelli, the president of the club, told The Associated Press. "This is our first action. We will go on strike if our demands are not met."

The club was formed in August and has come to include more than half of the country's 3,000 judges. The petition is its first action.