Amnesty International, Morocco/Western Sahara: Drop absurd charges against teenagers arrested for kissing, 10 October 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5257ae0b4.html [accessed 23 March 2017]
This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
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 boy
s was accused of "indecent assault" on a minor under Article 484 of the Penal Code for a
llegedly 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.