Accessibility

Close

Text size

All popular browsers allow zooming in and out by pressing the Ctrl (Cmd in OS X) and + or - keys. Or alternatively hold down the Ctrl key and scroll up or down with the mouse.

Line height

Contrast

Morocco should drop 'absurd' charges against teenagers arrested for kissing

Photo posted to Facebook could lead to five-year jail term for 15-year-old

The 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 the case tomorrow.

Two 15-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl have been charged with “public indecency” (under Article 483 of Morocco’s Penal Code) and face up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine if found guilty.

Additionally, one of the boys has been accused of “indecent assault” on a minor (under Article 484 of Morocco’s Penal Code) for allegedly kissing the 14-year-old girl, an offence which carries a prison sentence of between two and five years.

The three were arrested on 4 October in the city of Nador following a complaint claiming that the kiss - which took place outside a high school with photos posted on Facebook - had had a negative effect on Moroccan society. They were detained for three days and released on bail on 7 October, ahead of tomorrow’s court hearing.

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

“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.”  

The arrests and detention have sparked a 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.
 

View latest press releases