- July 8, 2014
Post submitted by Yushuang Sun, HRC Global Engagement Intern
Earlier this month, a Morocco appeals court upheld the convictions of six men accused of homosexual acts, along with prostitution and public drunkenness. The court ruled without calling witnesses or reviewing other evidence.
Two defendants were sentenced to prison for multiple year terms and the others were given suspended sentences.
The defendants were arrested on April 17 after the father of one of the men filed a lawsuit accusing others of encouraging his 19-year-old son to become homosexual.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Moroccan officials to stop persecuting people based on their sexual orientation.
HRW’s Regional Director Sarah Lea Whitson said, "[Morocco] should take the step of abolishing its laws that discriminate against private activity between consenting adults because they are of the same sex."
Morocco will hold its Pride parade on Saturday in Paris due to homophobia at home. Despite having a liberal reputation in the region, same-sex relations remain illegal in Morocco. The country outlaws homosexuality with punishments ranging from six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to 1000 dirhams ($120).
LGBT rights activists in Morocco recently launched a campaign, “Love is Not a Crime.” It urges the government to decriminalize same-sex relations in support of individual liberties. However, the country’s ruling party, the Party of Justice and Development, has strongly criticized the campaign and has refused to remove the law.