Two teenage girls in Morocco face up to three years in jail on homosexuality charges after they were caught kissing.
The girls, aged 16 and 17, were spotted kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Marrakech last week.
A mother of one of the girls called the police, who immediately arrested them and took them to jail. The girls now face up to three years in prison for their crime: an act of homosexuality.
They are being charged with “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” under Article 489 of the Moroccan penal code, according to a statement from L’Union Feministe Libre, an organization that said it met with the 17-year-old’s mother.
L’Union Feministe Libre strongly condemned the arrest as well as “the treatment they are suffering in prison.”
Amnesty International condemned the arrest and prosecution.
Heba Morayef, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s North Africa Regional Office, said: “The fact that two teenage girls could face a prison sentence for hugging or kissing one another is appalling.
“Nobody should be imprisoned based on their perceived sexual orientation or for consensual sexual activity.
“This case also highlights Morocco’s urgent need to repeal a discriminatory article in the penal code that criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity.
“Instead of putting juveniles on trial the Moroccan authorities should bring their legislation in line with international human rights standards, and work to ensure an end to the country’s widespread discrimination against people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Both of them are being defended by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights.