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Moroccan men jailed for kissing in public: NGO

20 June 2015, 09:20

Rabat - Two Moroccan men were jailed for four months on Friday for kissing in public, after a string of recent controversies over homosexuality in the conservative Muslim kingdom, said NGO officials who attended the trial.

The men, named as Lahcen, 38, and Mohsine, 25, were convicted of an "affront to public decency" and of an "unnatural act with a person of the same sex", and were also fined 500 dirhams ($52), the sources said.

Homosexual activity is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail and the divisive law - known as Article 489 - has been the subject of several protests, including a topless protest by feminist group Femen in front of Rabat's famous Hassan Tower.

Morocco's General Directorate of National Security said the women had "performed an obscene sequence" and were "topless, sporting a slogan that offended public morality".

The men were arrested on June 5 after kissing outside the tower in solidarity with the two French women, who were deported after their protest.

The furore over homosexuality in Morocco boiled over last week when a weekly magazine was forced to withdraw its latest edition, which featured a front cover headline asking: "Should we burn gays?"

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