Teen girls acquitted of homosexuality charges in Morocco


outrage-grows-over-arrest-of-teen-girls-for-kissingSanity has prevailed after two girls who were tried for homosexuality in Morocco were acquitted of all charges.

The teens, Sanaa (16) and Hajar (17), were arrested in October after they were reported by a neighbour or a relative who saw them kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Marrakesh.

The girls were allegedly beaten by their families and were detained for a week in an adult prison, instead of a juvenile facility.

On Friday, a Marrakesh judge dropped the charges against the minors and released them into the custody of their parents.

The teens had denied that they were romantically involved and said they were just friends.

An All Out petition calling for their release amassed over 100,000 signatures. In a statement, the site welcomed the acquittal.

“This is an amazing victory, but our work is far from over. We’ll continue urging Moroccan authorities to free all prisoners convicted because of their sexual orientation and to abolish anti-gay legislation so no one is prosecuted for who they are or who they love.”

Male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco under article 489 of the penal code, with penalties ranging from six months to three years in jail, as well as fines.

Persecution of and mob attacks against LGBT people are not uncommon in Morocco. In May, two men were imprisoned on charges of homosexuality after they were caught having sex in a car parked in a remote location.

In March, a gay couple was attacked by a homophobic group of men in the privacy of their home. They were assaulted on video, further humiliated after they were forced naked into the streets by their assailants and then charged with homosexuality.

According to Human Rights Watch, Moroccan courts often rely on confessions coerced by the police to convict people accused of homosexuality.

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