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Hassan al-Ashraf

Moroccan plans to criminalise harassment and blasphemy

Sexual harassment may soon be criminalised in Morocco [al-Araby]

Date of publication: 6 April, 2015

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A new draft law has been passed in the kingdom to imprison or fine anyone guilty of sexual harassment or blasphemy.

Morocco has proposed a new draft law to imprison those guilty of sexual harrassment or blasphemy. The law issued by the Ministry of Justice and Liberties is pending parliamentary approval.

The move reflects calls by women's organisations for a law to criminalise sexual harassment against women in public spaces.

The draft criminal law defines a sexual harasser as anyone physically or verbally assaulting another in a sexual way, including by sending messages, recordings or pictures of a sexual nature.

The draft law makes sexual harassment punishable with a prison sentence of between one to six months and a fine of 2,000 to 10,000 Moroccan dirhams ($203 - $1,015). The penalty doubles if the perpetrator is a work colleague or responsible for maintaining order and security.

In an unprecedented move in the kingdom, the new draft law also seeks to punish anyone who "deliberately blasphemes, defames, mocks or insults God, the prophets and the messengers". They are liable to receive a prison sentence of between one to five years, and a fine of between 20,000 to 200,000 Moroccan Dirham ($2,030-$20,297).

The new law also punishes anyone "deliberately tearing or desecrating holy books, destroying ruins or contaminating buildings, archaeological sites or anything used in worship". They are liable to receive a prison sentence from six months to two years and/or a fine of 2,000 to 20,000 Moroccan Dirham ($203-$2,030).

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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