Moroccan police arrest two teenage girls for homosexuality

Police in Morocco arrested and jailed two teenage girls last week on homosexuality charges, the Moroccan news website Yabiladi reported. Sometime later, the girls were granted provisional release in advance of a court hearing scheduled for today [and later rescheduled for Nov. 25.]

Logo of the Free Feminist Union
Logo of the Free Feminist Union

As of Nov. 5, a French-language petition seeking the girls’ immediate unconditional release had been signed by 39,026 people at AllOut.org.

The case began when the girls reportedly were seen and photographed kissing on the roof of a family house. They were denounced and taken to the police station, where they were arrested.

The girls are now represented by two attorneys who are members of the Morocco-based Free Feminist Union (UFL).

Yabiladi reported:

Two girls, ages 16 and 17, (identified here as S.Sh. and H.B.) were arrested in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Thursday, Oct. 27, for homosexuality.

The Free Feminist Union (UFL) has learned from the mother of H. B. that  a family member of one of the two girls took them to the police station, where they were immediately arrested.

La ville Beni-Mellal au carte de Maroc (Carte de skyrock.com)
Marrakesh (Marrakech) is near Beni Mellal, south of Casablanca in northern Morocco. (Map courtesy of skyrock.com)

H. B.’s mother told the UFL  that the authorities contacted her to bring in  her daughter’s identity papers, but then she had to wait at the court on Friday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. without receiving any information. She learned later that her daughter had been transferred to the local prison of Boulamharaz and S.Sh. to a [detention center] for minors.H.B.’s mother had no further information about the fate of her daughter.

H.B. refused to eat after her arrest, said Ms. Nidal Azhary, president of the UFL. She was being held under deplorable conditions.

The two girls are being prosecuted for homosexuality under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of 200 to 1,000 dirhams (US $20 to $100).The president of the UFL said that H.B. was asked to sign a police statement about the incident without reading it, and then only signed it under pressure.

 

This article was revised on Nov. 5 to include information about the Nov. 25 court date and the AllOut.org petition.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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