June 14, 2015

MOROCCO: Three Moroccan Men Accused Of Homosexuality Have Been Sentenced To 3 Years In Jail Each Per Islamic Sharia Law. Moroccan Magazine Recalls 'Burn Gays' Issue After Uproar

The Daily Star, Lebanon
written by AFP staff
May 25, 2015

RABAT - Three Moroccan men accused of homosexuality have been sentenced to three years in jail each by a court in northeastern Morocco, a rights group said on Monday.

Homosexuality and sexual relations outside marriage are forbidden in the conservative North African nation.

Hassan Ammari of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) told AFP the sentence was handed down on Friday by a court in the city of Taourirt, confirming media reports.

Two of the men, a mechanic in his 40s and a man in his 20s, were "caught in the act" in the mechanic's workshop by police acting on a tip-off, Ammari said.

They were arrested and during their detention they said they had met through a mutual friend, who was also arrested, and admitted having sexual relations.

Moroccan authorities have declined to comment.

Article 489 of Morocco's penal code states that any one found guilty of carrying out "a deviant act with a person of the same sex" will be jailed for to up to three years.

In March, Human Rights Watch called on Morocco to decriminalise homosexuality, saying that "criminalising consensual, adult homosexual conduct violates international human rights law".

It noted that article 24 of Morocco's 2011 constitution states that "all persons have the right to protection of their private life".

"This right, absent in the previous constitution, should lead to the abolition of the law criminalising consensual same-sex conduct," it said.

A survey published in November by the weekly TelQuel magazine showed that at least eight out of 10 Moroccans disapprove of homosexuality.

The Daily Star, Lebanon
Moroccan magazine recalls 'burn gays' issue after uproar
written by AFP staff
Friday June 12, 2015

Rabat - A Moroccan magazine said Friday it was recalling its latest issue, whose cover asked "Should We Burn Gays?", after it sparked a fierce debate in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco and can carry up to a three-year jail sentence.

The cover of this week's Maroc Hebdo shows two young men at swimming pool, smiling and gazing into each other's eyes, with the banner headline: "Should We Burn Gays?"

Maroc Hebdo said it "decided to withdraw from sale and its website" this week's edition "given the particularly strong reactions" it caused.

The issue said "homosexuality is, of course, an individual right," but added that debate on the topic had to take into account "moral and religious values".

The cover, first circulated on social media, drew instant criticism, with some commentators chiding it as "homophobic", but with its creators saying it was designed to provoke debate.

The magazine said it was not engaging in "sensationalism" but had rather sought to demonstrate "homosexuality and its place in society."

The subject has been in the headlines recently, after Morocco deported two female protesters from the activist group Femen after they staged a topless demonstration criticising Morocco's treatment of homosexuals.

A member of the British rock band Placebo used a festival performance in the capital Rabat last week to also protest Morocco's anti-gay law.

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