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Men Jailed for Gay Sex in Morocco

Six men were sentenced to prison in Ksar el Kbir, Morocco on Dec. 10 for alleged violation of Penal Code Article 489, which bans “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”


The men were arrested and jailed in late November after media reports identified them as attendees at an alleged “gay marriage” party that was the subject of an amateur video uploaded to YouTube.
Following the arrests, hundreds of people marched in Ksar el Kbir calling for the men to be punished.
Lawyers for the men, who were sentenced to between four and 10 months’ imprisonment each, complained that prosecutors presented no evidence that any crime had taken place. Human Rights Watch denounced the verdicts.
“The men's rights to privacy and freedom of expression have been violated, and the court has convicted them without apparent evidence; they should be set free,” said HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson, who directs the group's North Africa programs.
“These men are behind bars for private acts between consenting adults that no government has any business criminalizing in the first place,” she added.
The one individual who received a 10-month sentence also was convicted of selling alcohol.
Article 489 punishes gay sex with imprisonment for six months to three years and a fine of $15 to $150.


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