Pic: Yassine Toumi
In a continued crackdown on the LGBT community, Morocco has arrested four people over pro-gay protests in the city of Rabat.
AFP reported that two French feminists were arrested on Tuesday when they staged a topless same-sex kiss in front of the landmark Hassan Tower (see picture).
One woman had “in gay we trust” written on her body. Their action was to condemn the persecution of LGBT people. A third Spanish woman involved in the protest was deported.
On Wednesday, two local men held their own demonstration by kissing at the same location in protest against the women’s detention. They two were arrested.
According to some reports, the two women have since been allowed to leave but were barred from returning to Morocco. It’s unclear what the men’s fate will be.
The interior ministry said the women had carried out “an obscene act” and decried “provocations and harassment carried out by foreign organisations who deliberately violate Moroccan laws… to undermine morality.”
Male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco, with penalties ranging from six months to three years in jail, as well as the imposition of fines.
Last month, three Moroccan men were each jailed for three years after being found “guilty” of homosexuality. Two of the men were said to have been “caught” having sex, while the third man was a friend who introduced them.
In April, a local man and a Canadian tourist were arrested on charges of having gay sex, while in December last year, two men were jailed for consensual homosexual activity.
According to Human Rights Watch, Moroccan courts often rely on confessions coerced by the police to convict defendants accused of homosexuality.