Two teenage girls are to go on trial in Morocco on homosexuality charges after they were caught kissing and reported to polic
They now face up to three years in prison under the country’s strict homosexuality laws, with their trial due to start next week.
According to the Moroccan Times, 16-year-old Sanaa invited 17-year-old Hajar into her house in Daoudiate, Marrakesh on October 26.
The two kissed, but were being secretly filmed by Sanaa’s cousin, who quickly alerted her mother.
The girl’s mother is said to have reported the pair to the police, who subsequently arrested them,
If found guilty, the pair face between six months and three years in prison.
Moroccan law penalises acts of “sexual deviancy” between members of the same sex – a term that police reports and court documents use to refer to homosexuality more generally.
Although many men have been arrested and imprisoned under these laws, this is believed to be the first case of female minors being prosecuted for homosexuality in Morocco.
The girls will be defended by a lawyer appointed by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, and were due to appear in court on Friday.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco, under article 489 of the penal code which forbids “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex”.
Homosexuality can be punished with anything from six months to three years imprisonment, alongside a fine of up to 1200 dirhams (£260).
Human Rights Watch have previously urged the government to consider repealing the Penal Code, arguing: “Repealing the ban on same-sex acts among consenting adults would both affirm Moroccans’ right to privacy and help to protect people from hate crimes.”