HRW urges Morocco to stop jailing homosexuals

Human Rights Watch director for the Middle East and North Africa division Sarah Leah Whitson
Rabat (AFP) - Human Rights Watch urged Morocco Monday to stop prosecuting and jailing people for their sexual orientation, after an appeals court upheld the convictions of six men accused of homosexual acts.
"Moroccan authorities should stop prosecuting and jailing people for their intimate behaviour with other consenting adults," said HRW's regional director, Sarah Leah Whitson.
"Whatever the sexual orientation of these six defendants, they shouldn't face criminal penalties because of it."
Despite its liberal reputation compared with other parts of the Arab world, Morocco remains a conservative Muslim country whose government is led by a moderate Islamist party and where gay sex is illegal, punishable by a maximum three years in prison.
In May, the court in Faqih Bensalah, south of Rabat, handed prison sentences ranging from one to three years to six defendants accused among other things of homosexual acts, and ordered their expulsion from the town once after their jail terms.
In its July 2 ruling, the appeals court in Beni Mellal shortened the prison terms of two defendants, converted the others to suspended sentences and scrapped the banishment orders, HRW said.
But the New York-based group said the charges on which they were convicted, which included "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex," amounted to a form of discrimination that contradicted the preamble of Morocco's new constitution, introduced by the king in 2011.
It also raised doubts about the fairness of the trial, saying the appeals court upheld the convictions solely on the basis of statements the defendants made while in police custody.
All six repudiated those statements at the trial, asserting that they had signed them only because of police threats, according to Hadda Maidar, one of the defence lawyers cited by HRW.
After the original trial, Moroccan civil society activists appealed against homophobia and called for homosexuality to be decriminalised in a video posted on the Internet.
But members of the Party of Justice and Development, the Islamist party that heads the coalition government, strongly criticised the campaign.

Morocco: ‘Homosexuality’ charges against six men upheld

A Morocco appeals court has upheld the convictions of six men arrested under the country’s sodomy law.
The six defendants were convicted in May of accusations ranging from “homosexuality, inciting prostitution, mediating in prostitution and being drunk in public”, with at least four charged under Section 489 of the penal code, which criminalises “lewd acts” with people of the same sex.
According to Human Rights Watch, the convictions were upheld based on statements made while in custody, which defendants say they were threatened into making.
The court called no witnesses and reviewed no evidence during the appeal.
Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch said: “Moroccan authorities should stop prosecuting and jailing people for their intimate behavior with other consenting adults.
“Whatever the sexual orientation of these six defendants, they shouldn’t face criminal penalties because of it.”
“If Morocco aspires to be a regional leader on human rights, it should take the step of abolishing its laws that discriminate against private activity between consenting adults because they are of the same sex.”
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco with punishments ranging from six months to three years imprisonment and a fine of 120 to 1200 dirhams (£19-£194).
But members of the Party of Justice and Development – the Islamist party that heads the country’s coalition government – are strongly opposed to removing the law.
Morocco’s constitution “commits to banning and combating all discrimination toward anyone, because of gender, color, beliefs, culture, social or regional origin, language, handicap, or whatever personal circumstance”, but does not mention sexual orientation.

LGBT in Morocco: 6 men jailed on ‘homosexuality’ charges

Six men have been jailed in Morocco on various charges including “homosexuality”.

Ahmed Amin Chaabi, from the Moroccan League for the Defence of Human Rights, said the six defendants were convicted on Monday of accusations ranging from “homosexuality, inciting prostitution, mediating in prostitution and being drunk in public.”

AFP reports a court in Faqih Bensalah, around 170km south of Rabat, handed down prison sentences of one, two and three years.

Mr Chaabi said it also ordered the expulsion of the accused from the town once they have served their jail terms, under article 41 of the Moroccan penal code.

The six men were arrested on 17 April after the father of one of them filed a lawsuit against three people, accusing them of encouraging his 19-year-old son to become gay.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco with punishments ranging from six months to three years imprisonment and a fine of 120 to 1200 dirhams (£19-£194).

LGBT rights campaigners in Morocco have called on the government to abolish its anti-gay laws, in a video posted on social media ahead of Saturday’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia).

But members of the Party of Justice and Development, the Islamist party that heads the coalition government, have strongly criticised the campaign.

“These messages which praise homosexuality are not only harmful to our Muslim culture but amount to breaking the law,”PJD deputy Amina Maa el-Ainein told the Moroccan Parliament on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia bans 'gays, tom-boys' from schools

gay_saudi_men_imageSaudi Arabia has decided to bar "gays and tom-boys" from its government schools and universities within a crackdown against the spread of this phenomenon in the conservative Moslem Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper said on Monday.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared law enforcement authority in the oil-rich country, has been asked to enforce the new orders, Sharq Arabic language daily said.
“Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites,” it said.
The paper did not make clear who issued those instructions but said gay and tom boy students can go back to schools and universities if they prove they have been corrected and have stopped such practices.
It said high-level orders have been issued to the Commission to immediately enforce the new rules and to step up efforts to combat this phenomenon and other “unacceptable behavior” in public places.
Dad keeps son in jail for 14 years for attacking mom-in-law
A 42-year-old Saudi man has been in prison for more than14 years although he was sentenced for three years for attacking his mother-in-law.
The reason is that his father wants him to stay in jail.
A court in the western town of Madina had sentenced the man to three years in prison and 200 lashes for beating up his wife's mother while drunk.
He was also ordered him to pay SR26,000 to his father after setting his car ablaze.
“When he completed his jail term and was about to be released, his father went again to the judge and pleaded that his son remains in jail so he will not attack his wife's mother again,” Kabar newspaper said.
“The judge then decided to keep the man in prison until his father decides that he is corrected…ever since, he has been there indefinitely.”
The paper said the court was instructed this week by minister of social affairs Yousuf Al Othaimin to review the man’s case but gave no other details.
I groped her as I thought she felt cold, says interviewer
A 52-year-old Indian partner allegedly molested a friend’s wife who went to him for a job interview, the Dubai Criminal Court heard.

MLB, 52, agreed with the victim’s husband, MSH, 25, that he will take latter's wife for an interview.

On December 14, 2011, JSA, 21, Pakistani, drove the MLB's car, from her house to the interview.

On their way, MLB pulled the victim’s leg and asked her to move towards him. She got scared, especially as he told her that he liked to eat sweet and that she should be happy as she was getting a reward, the victim testified.

“I sent an SMS to my husband telling him what MLB did. My husband called and heard the conversation between me and MLB… then he talked to MLB and asked him to return me home and so he did,” she testified.

MSH, the victim’s husband, also testified.

MLB admitted to groping the victim’s leg saying he did that as he felt she felt cold.

The court adjourned the case to April 29.


Egypt detains 14 for “homosexual acts” at medical centre

Egyptian security flank 52 suspected homosexual men accused of sexual immorality as they arrive at a Cairo court November 14, 2001. Reuters
An Egyptian prosecutor ordered on Saturday that fourteen suspects be detained for four days pending investigations into allegations that they committed “homosexual acts” inside a medical centre in the neighborhood of al-Marg in Cairo. 
The prosecutor also ordered that they be sent to a pathologist for forensic reports and that the centre be shut down, the Arabic Ahram online portal said. 
Egyptian authorities raided the centre after it was confirmed that the "immoral acts" were taking place between males aged between 18 to 57 years old. 
The prosecutor also ordered that all evidence be confiscated as investigations take place. 
In 2001, 52 Egyptian men also stood trial on charges of "sexual immorality". 
This content is from :Aswat Masriya

Kuwait to Conduct Gay Tests to 'Detect and Ban' Homosexuals from Entering Gulf Kingdom

Gay pride parade
A gay pride parade (Reuters)
Kuwait will conduct medical screening tests to "detect" homosexuals who attempt to get into the Gulf kingdom, according to a senior official.
Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, said that the routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) will include tests to identify LGBT people who will then be banned from entering the country.
"Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," he told local daily Al Rai. "However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states."
Homosexuals acts are banned in all the GCC member countries, which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In Kuwait, people involved in a homosexual acts can receive up to 10 years in jail if they are under 21. In 2010 the conservative Gulf country banned the screening of Egyptian film Beddon Rakaba (Out of Control or Uncensored) saying that it "encouraged debauchery". The film focused on youth people using drugs and having homosexual relationships.
A member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were "too hot" and that the lesbianism theme was "too bold."
In 2012, Kuwaiti police officers arrested two men for allegedly having homosexual acts in a car at a café's parking lot in Kuwait city. Police also found the men had a four-year-old "marriage contract" and were planning to travel abroad to obtain a legal marriage certificate.
According to many Arab LGBT organisations, it is common practice among Arabian Gulf gay couples to sign a marriage contact as a sign of love and commitment.
Bahrain arrested 127 people in 2011 for holding a "depraved and decadent party", according to Gulf News.

Lebanon censors French film over homosexuality

W460BEIRUT: Lebanon has censored a French film depicting homosexuality and a local short film about the tradition of temporary marriage among some Shiite Muslims, film festival organisers said Thursday.

The Beirut International Film Festival said it had been informed by censors that 'L'inconnu du lac' (Stranger by the Lake), a thriller by Alain Guiraudie about two men who fall in love after meeting at a cruising spot for gay men along the shore of a lake.

The other film is "I Offered You Pleasure," by 26-year-old Lebanese director Farah Shaer. It deals with the controversial subject of temporary marriage, or "pleasure marriage," a tradition among some Shiites that opponents view as an excuse for sex outside of conventional wedlock, otherwise forbidden by Islam.

A security official said the censorship board, which is attached to the interior ministry, had concluded the two films did "not meet its criteria" and that the minister would make a final decision on them.

Despite unbridled access to media via the Internet and the widespread pirating of DVDs, censors in multi-sectarian Lebanon ban all artistic works they believe incite sectarian strife, undermine morals or state authority, or which further "Israeli propaganda."

Lebanon also respects a region-wide boycott of the Israeli arts enforced by the Arab League.
Earlier this year,Beirut censored Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri's award-winning film "The Attack" because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv with Israeli actors.

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