Shocking footage has been posted online of an individual, described in the local media as a gay man, being brutally attacked by a mob in Morocco.
The clip shows the hapless victim running to get into a taxi as he’s engulfed by a group of attackers in the city of Fez.
He falls to the ground and is kicked and punched by the angry mob, before managing to get up and desperately trying to seek shelter in a building.
A policeman or security guard appears and is seen holding off the bloodthirsty youths, apparently allowing the victim to flee into the building.
It is not clear if the individual, who is wearing what appears to be a white dress, identifies as transgender or gay.
According to Moroccan World News, the Public Prosecutor in Fez has now ordered an investigation into the incident.
“The Public Prosecutor has ordered the opening of a probe to identify people involved in the assault and bring them to justice,” said a communiqué obtained by the news site.
The victim has not been identified, nor is his condition known. He could however be charged with homosexuality by the authorities. (Cross-dressing is often associated with homosexuality in Morocco.)
Male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the country, with penalties ranging from six months to three years in jail, as well as the imposition of fines.
There has been a recent crackdown on the LGBT community in Morocco, with at least seven arrests and / or convictions related to homosexuality in the last six months.
In addition, four people, including two foreigners, were arrested last month after they staged two kiss-in protests against the country’s persecution of LGBT people. The foreigners were deported while the two local men were jailed for four months.
According to Human Rights Watch, Moroccan courts often rely on confessions coerced by the police to convict defendants accused of homosexuality.
A recent Moroccan Health Ministry report recommended that homosexuality be legalised in the country in order to effectively tackle the scourge of HIV.