Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

10 October 2013

Morocco/Western Sahara: Drop absurd charges against teenagers arrested for kissing

Morocco/Western Sahara: Drop absurd charges against teenagers arrested for kissing
Three teenagers have been arrested in Morocco for kissing in public and posting a photo of it on Facebook.

Three teenagers have been arrested in Morocco for kissing in public and posting a photo of it on Facebook.

© Demotix


These young people should never have been detained in the first place - there is no imaginable reason why expression of this type ought to result in prosecution. Launching a judicial investigation into a complaint about an act as benign as teenagers kissing is ridiculous. It should be dismissed out of hand.
Source: 
Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

Authorities in Morocco must immediately and unconditionally drop charges against three teenagers arrested for kissing and posting a photo on Facebook, said Amnesty International ahead of a court hearing on Friday.

“It is simply absurd that these teenagers could face a prison term just for kissing and and posting a photo on Facebook,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

“These young people should never have been detained in the first place - there is no imaginable reason why expression of this type ought to result in prosecution. Launching a judicial investigation into a complaint about an act as benign as teenagers kissing is ridiculous. It should be dismissed out of hand.”

Two 15-year-old boys and one 14-year-old girl were arrested on 4 October in the city of Nador. They were detained for three days and released on bail on 7 October, ahead of a court hearing this Friday.

All three were charged with “public indecency” under Article 483 of Morocco's Penal Code. If found guilty, they could face up to two years imprisonment and a fine.

Furthermore, one of the boys was accused of “indecent assault” on a minor under Article 484 of the Penal Code for allegedly kissing the 14-year-old girl, an offence which carries prison sentences between two and five years.

The arrests took place following a complaint claiming the kiss, which took place outside a high school with photos posted on social media, had a negative effect on Moroccan society.

The arrests and detention sparked a broad wave of solidarity in Morocco and abroad. A solidarity kiss-in was organised on 6 October outside the Moroccan embassy in Paris, while similar protests are planned this week in Morocco.

Issue

Freedom Of Expression 

Country

Morocco 

Region

Middle East And North Africa 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

01 August 2014

South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) should stop seizing and shutting down newspapers as well as harassing, intimidating and unlawfully detaining journalists, two... Read more »

31 July 2014

The US government must immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
01 August 2014

Governments across Europe and the European Union (EU) must swiftly sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention, a new continent-wide tool to prevent and combat violence against... Read more »

01 August 2014

A sharp rise in arrests, prosecutions and imprisonment of independent journalists in Iran signals the authorities’ utter determination to crush hopes for increased freedom... Read more »