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Two teenage girls in Morocco 'caught kissing' face jail

Rights groups have made fresh calls for Morocco to repeal Article 489 [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 November, 2016

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Fresh calls have been made for Morocco to abolish its anti-homosexuality laws as two girls face being jailed after being caught 'hugging and kissing'.
Two teenage girls face being jailed on homosexuality charges in Morocco.

The girls, aged 16 and 17, stand trial on Friday after they were spotted kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Marrakech last week.

Someone photographed them, sent the picture to the family who informed the police and the two girls were arrested on the same day, said Omar Arbib from The Moroccan Association of Human Rights, which has assigned a lawyer to defend the girls.

Arbib told CNN Arabic that the mother of the older girl told him that she had visited her daughter and found her in the adult wing of the prison, where she said her daughter told her she had been "mistreated by other prisoners".

Homosexual activity is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail. A divisive law – known as Article 489 – has been the subject of several protests.

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have demanded Moroccan authorities abolish Article 489.

Criminalising consensual, adult homosexual conduct violates international human rights law, HRW has said.

Last year two men were jailed for four months for kissing in public in Rabat, convicted of an "affront to public decency" and an "unnatural act with a person of the same sex".

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