Morocco: Article 489

freethegirlsmoroccoWhilst we’ve made strides in our fight for equality here at home in the U.S., people from many overseas nations have not been so lucky. In this case, 2 teenage girls from the North African country of Morocco. The girls, aged 16 and 17, face homosexuality charges after being caught hugging and kissing on a Marrakech rooftop late last week.

Homosexuality in Morocco was ruled to be illegal in 1962 after the passing of Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code. Article 489 states that “any person who ‘commits a lewd and unnatural act’ with an individual of the same sex may be sentenced to six months to three years of imprisonment and fined 200-1000 Moroccan dirhams.” While homosexual activity is indeed illegal, it has been reported that the law is rarely ever enforced; though this will not likely be of any comfort to these two young girls.

The two teenagers were detained by police and sent to an adult prison. Omar Arbib from the Moroccan Association of Human Rights told CNN Arabic in a statement that the girls have since been released; though they will have to stand trial on Friday under Article 489. Arbib also added that the Moroccan Association of Human Rights has assigned a lawyer to defend the girls. If found guilty, the girls could face a minimum of six months in jail.

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