As Morocco reviews its laws, 2 jailed on gay-sex charge

On July 28, 2016 76 Crimes reported:

Parliament Should Decriminalize Same-Sex Acts

Map of Morocco shows the location of Agadir on the country’s south coast and Guilmine (Guilmim) nearby. (Map courtesy of ikuska.com)

Moroccan authorities imprisoned two men on charges of homosexual activity, the latest in a series of such cases, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament is preparing to examine revisions to the penal code and should remove from the draft the provisions that leave intact criminal charges for same-sex “deviant acts,” with possible prison terms of up to three years.

The Agadir Court of Appeals on June 30, 2016 upheld the conviction of the two men, from the southern city of Guelmine, who gendarmes said they had caught in the act in a car parked in a remote location on May 20.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch

“If legislators want to harmonize Morocco’s laws with its 2011 Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy, they should decriminalize the intimate lives of consenting adults,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Morocco has repeatedly imprisoned men under penal code article 489. In this case, according to the judgment by the Guelmine Court of First Instance, the gendarme approached a parked car on a remote location away from the road outside the city and found the two men engaged in sex. In custody, the two men confessed to the police. During their brief trial on May 26, J., 23, affirmed his confession while A., 46, repudiated his statement and said he was innocent. For reasons that are unclear, neither had a lawyer during the trial.

The court convicted the two, saying that A.’s repudiation of his confession was “nothing but a means of evading criminal responsibility and escaping punishment, belied by the fact that his confession [to the police] was detailed and not proven to be false.” The court sentenced each of the men to six months in prison and a fine of 500 dirhams (US$50) on a single charge of homosexual acts.

The Agadir Appeals Court affirmed the verdict but reduced sentence to a month and a half for J. and three months for A. The court did not explain the disparate sentences.

Read more at: As Morocco reviews its laws, 2 jailed on gay-sex charge | 76 CRIMES

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