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Moroccan King Frees Jewish Prisoner

A Jewish mathematician, imprisoned in Morocco, was set free Saturday after having served 12 years of an 18-year sentence. Sion Assidon, 36, a self-confessed Marxist activist, was pardoned by King Hassan II and left Kenitra prison where he had been held.

Though Assidon, a prominent lecturer and scientist, was sentenced on charges not connected with his religion, many prominent French and Moroccan Jews have regularly interceded on his behalf. Assidon, who calls himself “an anti-Zionist,” belongs to an old and respected Moroccan Jewish family.

Hassan reportedly decided to free Assidon together with several dozens other political prisoners as a gesture of good will towards the leftwing elements in his country. In Assidon’s case, he seems to have taken into consideration the pleas of many Moroccan Jews close to his court.