Moroccan Muslims offer tarawih prayers on the esplanade of the Hassan II mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, in Casablanca, July 27, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
A young Moroccan protester has been handed a three-month jail sentence for eating in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.
"The youth was arrested by police as he was eating in public in the Old City of Rabat," the source said, adding that the verdict was handed down on Friday.The court also ordered the man to pay a 250 dirham ($29) fine.
Article 222 of Morocco's penal code states that anyone "breaking the fast in a public place during Ramadan, without a reason accepted" in Islam, can be imprisoned for up to six months and fined.
Abdelhamid Amine, vice president of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, said the young man, who has the right to appeal, had been acting out of conviction when he broke the law."During his interrogation, he confirmed that he performed this act out of conviction, and that it was a case of him exercising his personal liberty," Amine told AFP.
Young Moroccans formed an online protest group last month called Masayminch ("We're not fasting") to defend the right of non-believers to eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan, which ended earlier this month.