Six Moroccan men were sentenced May 14 in Fqih Bensalah to penalties of up to three years in prison for being homosexuals and violations related to sex and alcohol.
The verdict coincided with a campaign for the repeal of Morocco’s anti-gay law.
The six men were arrested April 17 for homosexuality and several other charges — alleged “incitement to prostitution,” driving while intoxicated and being “drunk on the street,” activist Ahmed Amine Chaabi of the Moroccan League for the Defense of Human Rights told Agence France-Presse/Le Monde.
The Moroccan news site H24info reported that one man was sentenced to three years in prison without parole, which is the maximum sentence under Morocco’s anti-gay law. Another was sentenced to two years without parole; two others, to two years with possibility of parole; the remaining two, to one year with possibility of parole.
The court ordered that they be expelled from the town at the end of their prison terms, “in accordance with Article 41 of the Moroccan criminal law.”
The six men were arrested after the father of one of the men filed suit against three members of the group, accusing them of encouraging his 19-year-old son to become homosexual and saying it was influencing his behavior and his studies, Chaabi said, as quoted in Al-Akhbar.
The verdict coincided with the “Love is Not a Crime” campaign for the repeal of Morocco’s anti-gay law. Al-Akhbar said:
Moroccan civil society activists have called for homosexuality to be decriminalized in a video posted on the Internet ahead of the international day against homophobia on May 17.
In the video, part of the campaign “Love Is Not a Crime” launched by the group Aswat (“Voice” in Arabic), six civil society activists appealed against homophobia.
“People have the right to make their choice, to do what they want with their bodies as long as they don’t harm others,” said the writer Abdallah Bida.
But members of the Party of Justice and Development, the Islamist party that heads the coalition government, have strongly criticized the campaign.
PJD deputy Amina Maa el-Ainein on Tuesday urged the minister of Islamic affairs to take action against it.
“These messages which praise homosexuality are not only harmful to our Muslim culture but amount to breaking the law,” she told parliament.