2 teen girls face imprisonment for kissing in Morocco

16- and 17-year-old arrested on homosexuality charge; were turned in by mother of one of them

Illustrative photo of a Muslim woman adjusting her hijab. (AP/M. Spencer Green, File)
Illustrative photo of a Muslim woman adjusting her hijab. (AP/M. Spencer Green, File)

Authorities in Morocco have pressed charges of homosexuality against two teenage girls allegedly caught kissing and will put them on trial toward the end of the month, a human rights group said.

The girls, ages 16 and 17, may face up to three years’ imprisonment after a relative photographed the two kissing and shared the picture with a mother of one of the girls. The mother reported her daughter to the police and the girls were arrested on charges of homosexuality.

Police detained the pair, only identified as 16-year-old Sanaa and 17-year-old Hajar, in Marrakesh last Thursday, said Omar Arbib, an activist at the Moroccan Association of Human Rights.

“They were caught kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Hay Mohammadi district,” said Arbib.

“Someone photographed them, sent the picture to the family who informed the police” and the two girls were arrested on the same day, he told AFP.

They appeared before prosecutors and were due in court on Friday facing charges of “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” under article 489 of the penal code, but the trial has reportedly been rescheduled for November 25th.

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has appointed a lawyer to defend the girls, who, if convicted, could be imprisoned for between six months and three years.

But Arbib called for the release of the pair and for the law they are accused of breaking to be abolished.

Morocco, a country of 35 million people torn between religious conservatism and openness to the West, has had several controversial cases concerning homosexuality in recent years.

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