Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:03 pm (KSA) 17:03 pm (GMT)

Morocco refuses to cut jail time for gay bride

Residents strolling in a Rabat street (File)
Residents strolling in a Rabat street (File)

A Moroccan appeals court has upheld prison sentences for six men jailed for "homosexuality", lawyer Mohamed Sebbar told AFP Wednesday.

The decision prompted Amnesty International to call for Morocco to decriminalize homosexuality -- which carries a maximum three-year sentence.

The 10-month sentence of the chief accused, Fouad Friret, remained unchanged for the crimes of "homosexuality" and "selling alcohol illegally" at what local press termed a "gay marriage" at Ksar El Kebir in the north.

The other five, aged between 20 and 61, had their sentences reduced to two months behind bars instead of between four and six.

London-based North African Amnesty spokeswoman Benedicte Goderiaux issued a demand for the six to be freed immediately -- and for the men to be given state protection.

"Article 489 of the Moroccan penal code (covering homosexuality) runs contrary to human rights conventions signed by the kingdom," she told AFP.

In November, Islamist militants took part in a violent anti-gay rally in Ksar El Kebir, with protesters attacking the home of one of the party organizers, who fled to the police station.

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