Rabat - A Moroccan judge has released two adolescents who
were arrested for posting on Facebook a photograph of themselves kissing, the justice
ministry said on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old boy and his 14-year-old girlfriend were
handed over to their parents in the northern city of Nador, the news website
Another adolescent, who had been detained for taking the
picture, was also released. However, the three will be questioned by the judge
on Friday, the ministry said.
The couple was placed in a juvenile detention centre last
week after a local conservative non-governmental organisation lodged a judicial
complaint against them for violating public decency.
The picture showed the couple exchanging a kiss in front of
Some people could use such pictures as pornographic
material, argued Faycal el-Morsi, president of the conservative United Organisation
of Human Rights and Public Freedoms, which filed the complaint.
However, the organisation was seeking an investigation and
not the arrest of the three adolescents, he said later.
The three youths could face prison sentences of up to two
The case sparked protests in Morocco, where other youths
posted similar pictures on the internet and a sit-in protest was held outside
the juvenile detention centre in Nador.
"In this country, it is a crime to kiss a girl, but it
is not a crime to hit her," human rights activist Chakib al-Khayari said
in a reference to domestic violence.
Sixty per cent of Moroccan women are victims of physical
abuse, according to Bassima Hakkoui, a minister for women's affairs.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane's Islamist government has
pledged more measures to protect women, after being accused of not doing enough
to help them.