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Ksar el-Kbir Case Prompts Moroccan Association for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch to Launch Petition for Fair Trials and Privacy

Human Rights WatchAssociation Marocaine des Droits Humains


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The Moroccan Association for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch ask for your help. You can send a message to Moroccan authorities to respect all human rights for all, by signing the petition below.

Six men are imprisoned in Morocco under a law criminalizing sexual conduct between people of the same sex. Their conviction violates the right to a fair trial, and the law under which they were tried violates the right to privacy.

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We ask the Moroccan government to protect the human rights to privacy and to a fair trial, We ask the authorities to free six victims of prejudice and repeal the discriminatory law under which they are imprisoned.

On January 15, a Tangiers appeals court upheld the conviction of six men under Article 489 of Morocco’s penal code, which criminalizes sexual conduct between members of the same sex. Police had arrested the men in November 2007, after a video circulated on the Internet showing a private party in Ksar el-Kbir.

At trial, the prosecution produced no evidence that any of the defendants had violated Article 489, which provides prison terms for persons who commit “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.” The video, which was shown at the trial, showed no evidence of sexual acts. The defendants denied the charges. On December 10—International Human Rights Day—a court in Ksar el-Kbir sentenced the men to between four and ten months in prison.

Article 489 gives the police, and, in this case the judiciary, power to interfere arbitrarily with people’s private lives. In this case the Article was used to convict people without any evidence of a specific offense.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Morocco ratified in 1979, requires Morocco to protect the right to privacy. This means safeguarding the right of everyone to be undisturbed in their homes so long as they do not disturb others. It also requires Morocco to ensure the right of everyone to a fair trial.

We urge the appropriate Moroccan authorities:

  • to repeal Article 489 of the penal code;
  • to quash the verdicts against these men and set them free.


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