A Morocco court sentenced six men to jail terms ranging from four to ten months for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts. They were charged with violating Article 489 which criminalizes, “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.” Sarah Leah Whitson of the Human Rights Watch attacked the decision because “these men are behind bars for private acts between consenting adults that no government has any business criminalizing in the first place…The men’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression have been violated and the court has convicted them without apparent evidence.” The arrest stemmed from a video that appeared on YouTube purporting to show a private party that supposedly was celebrating a “gay marriage.” Following the arrests of the men, hundreds of men and women stormed through Ksar el-Kbir demanding punishment of the men. The mob looted a jewelry store owned by one of the defendants and trashed the house of another.
Abdelaqziz Nousaydi, a Rabat lawyer pointed out in court that no visual evidence had been introduced nor had there been any testimony from an eye witness that the men had engaged in homosexual activity. The men pleaded innocence but were convicted, apparently due to hysteria. It is fascinating the court apparently believes whatever appears on YouTube must be right. The Moroccan Constitution pledges to adhere to United Nations standards of human rights.