- The government of Morocco has been petitioned to repeal a repressive law that provides prison terms for consensual homosexual actions as well as protect the rights to privacy and fair trial.
In a statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Moroccan Human Rights Association (MHRA) did not only called for the repeal of Article 489 of the penal code, but they also demanded the release of six men currently imprisoned under the article.
The men were arrested in November 2007 after the circulation of a video showing a private party in Ksar el-Kbir, a town close to the capital Rabat.
Activists argued that the prosecution did not produced any tangible evidence that the defendants had violated Article 489, which provides prison terms for persons who commit “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”
The men denied all the charges brought against them. However, they were sentenced by a court in Ksar el-Kbir to between four and 10 months in prison. This was after demonstrators marched through the town demanding that the men be punished.
An appeal court in Tangiers appeal later upheld their conviction but reduced their sentences slightly.
“This trial shows how an unjust law can be used to violate the basic right to privacy and fuel social prejudice,” said Joe Stork, Director of HRW in Middle East and North Africa.
“When a trial is as unfair as this one, people should protest to the authorities,” said Khadija Ryadi, President of MHRA. “Beliefs may differ, but everyone shares the desire for justice.”
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
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afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.