Gay kiss lands two men in prison


Homosexuality is illegal Morocco

Two Moroccan men have been beaten and jailed for four months for the simple act of kissing in public.

The men kissed each other at the Hassan Tower in the city of Rabat earlier this month in protest against the arrest of two French feminists who staged a topless same-sex kiss in the same location.

The women had been demonstrating against the persecution of LGBT people in Morocco. While they were deported, the local men were tried and convicted for an “affront to public decency” and an “unnatural act with a person of the same sex.”

According to AFP, in addition to being jailed, the men, aged 38 and 25, were also each fined 500 dirhams ($52 / R632).

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) identified the men by their first names, Lahcen and Mohsine, and noted that they could have been jailed for up to three years under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality.

The organisation said the men’s lawyers claimed that a confession presented by the police was obtained under duress and without access to legal counsel.

The men also had visible bruising, showing signs of having been beaten. Their lawyers requested a medical examination to determine whether they were tortured and suffered physical duress during the police investigation.

“We urge the Moroccan authorities to immediately release these men and take concrete steps to protect the rights of all individuals,” said Hossein Alizadeh, the Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator for IGLHRC.

“We also urge the Moroccan government to repeal all criminal law provisions, such as Article 489, that go against Morocco’s international human rights obligations,” Alizadeh added.

A recent Moroccan Health Ministry report recommended that homosexuality be legalised in the country in order to effectively tackle the scourge of HIV.

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