Teen girls in Morocco face jail for kissing

Activists in Morocco have called for the abolition of Article 489.

Story highlights

  • One of the teens says she has been mistreated in jail
  • Human rights groups have called for the law to be repealed

(CNN)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 detained by police after they were spotted kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Marrakech last week, Omar Arbib from the Moroccan Association of Human Rights told CNN Arabic in a statement.
    They have since been released but will stand trial Friday under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code, which specifies that "any person who 'commits a lewd and unnatural act' with an individual of the same sex may be sentenced to six months to three years of imprisonment."
    The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has assigned a lawyer to defend the girls, said Arbib.

    Mistreatment claim

    Arbib told CNN Arabic that the mother of the older girl told him that she'd visited her daughter and found her in the adult wing of the prison, where she said her daughter told her she'd been "mistreated by other prisoners."
    Moroccan authorities would not comment on the girls' case when contacted by CNN.
    A show of support from the MALI rights group
    Meanwhile, Arbib reiterated the rights group's demand for Article 489 to be abolished, saying "Individuals cannot be punished based on their sexual inclination."
    Human Rights Watch has previously called for this law and all others related to the prohibition of consenting sexual relations between adults to be repealed.
    Another interest group in the region, the Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties (MALI), published a picture in support of the girls. It showed the group's founders, Zineb El Rhazoui and Ibtissame Lachgar, with the statement: "We are heterosexual and we support LGBT rights."