Morocco 'homosexual assault' trial adjourned until August

AFP , Thursday 23 Jul 2015

The trial in Morocco of two men accused of beating up a man they allegedly thought was homosexual because of his effeminate appearance was adjourned Thursday until next month, an NGO said.

Media have focused heavily on the case, which has attracted wide public interest, with around 70 lawyers representing the victim.

The defendants are to remain in custody until the next hearing on August 6, Mustapha Jebbour, of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, told AFP.

Daily newspaper L'Economiste said they are travelling salesmen, aged around 30, who escribed themselves as Islamists whose "faith was offended" at the effeminate appearance of the man.

Websites have posted a video of the victim trying in vain to take shelter in a taxi to escape angry youths in the central city of Fez.

The man is seen collapsing to the ground under an avalanche of blows from an expanding circle of youths.

He finally gets to his feet, clothes torn, and tries of take cover in a shop before a policeman appears and holds up his gun to disperse the crowd.

In a widening debate on social media, Le360 website compared the scene to the "barbarity" of the Islamic State group, which publicly executes suspected homosexuals in Syria.

Homosexual activity is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail.

The national news agency MAP reported at the time of the Fez arrests "the firm determination of the authorities to take action against those who act outside the law".

After a string of controversies over homosexuality, two men were sentenced in June to four months in jail for kissing in public in Rabat.

They were convicted of an "affront to public decency" and an "unnatural act with a person of the same sex".

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