Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Morocco urged to stop jailing gays

08 July 2014, 06:43

Rabat - Human Rights Watch urged Morocco on Monday to stop prosecuting and jailing people for their sexual orientation, after an appeals court upheld the convictions of six men accused of homosexual acts.

"Moroccan authorities should stop prosecuting and jailing people for their intimate behaviour with other consenting adults," said HRW's regional director, Sarah Lea Whitson.

"Whatever the sexual orientation of these six defendants, they shouldn't face criminal penalties because of it."

Despite its liberal reputation compared with other parts of the Arab world, Morocco remains a conservative Muslim country whose government is led by a moderate Islamist party and where gay sex is illegal, punishable by a maximum three years in prison.

In May, the court in Faqih Bensalah, south of Rabat, handed prison sentences ranging from one to three years to six defendants accused among other things of homosexual acts, and ordered their expulsion from the town once after their jail terms.

In its 2 July ruling, the appeals court in Beni Mellal shortened the prison terms of two defendants, converted the others to suspended sentences and scrapped the banishment orders, HRW said.

But the New York-based group said the charges on which they were convicted, which included "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex," amounted to a form of discrimination that contradicted the preamble of Morocco's new constitution, introduced by the king in 2011.

It also raised doubts about the fairness of the trial, saying the appeals court upheld the convictions solely on the basis of statements the defendants made while in police custody.

All six repudiated those statements at the trial, asserting that they had signed them only because of police threats, according to Hadda Maidar, one of the defence lawyers cited by HRW.

After the original trial, Moroccan civil society activists appealed against homophobia and called for homosexuality to be decriminalised in a video posted on the internet.

But members of the Party of Justice and Development, the Islamist party that heads the coalition government, strongly criticised the campaign.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...