Teen Girls Face Prison for Kissing in Morocco

Two young women walk past men who look and talk to them in Rabat on November 24, 2013. A long-awaited law to combat violence against women is currently under study in Morocco, but the Islamist-led government has had to revise its proposals after sharp criticism from rights groups. AFP PHOTO/FADEL …

The Washington Post reports: Two teenage girls were kissing and hugging on a rooftop in Marrakesh, Morocco, late last week when one of their cousins took their photo.

After seeing the photo, the mother of one of the girls called the police, who immediately arrested them and took them to jail. The girls now face up to three years in prison for their crime: an act of homosexuality.

The two girls, 16 and 17, were held in an adult prison — instead of a juvenile detention center — for about three days, Larbi Elhabbache, vice president of the Marrakesh chapter of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, said in a phone interview with the Post. The association learned about the arrest through an acquaintance of one of the girls and is now communicating with the girls’ lawyer, Elhabbache said. The girls were scheduled to appear in a court hearing Friday.

The girls are being charged with “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” under Article 489 of the Moroccan penal code, according to a statement from L’Union Feministe Libre, an organization that said it met with the 17-year-old’s mother. Punishment can range from six months to three years in prison.

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