Rabat – Five people have been arrested for eating in the day during the holy month of Ramadan in Marrakech’s iconic Square Jamaa El Fnaa.
The Marrakech tourism Brigade arrested on Monday five people, including a minor, after they were caught eating during fasting hours.
According to Omar Arbib, the representative of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) in Marrakech, the five young men told police that they were traveling from Rabat to accompany a friend to the Marrakech Menara International Airport.
In Islam, if a travelling person is travelling during the day, he or she is allowed to break their fast and avail themselves of the concession granted to travelers.
Arbib said that the young men could not bear the rising temperatures in Marrakech and therefore bought a glass of juice from the orange juice vendors in Jamaa El Fna.
He added that the tourism brigade also found cannabis in their possession.
Fasting hours during the month of Ramadan are from dawn to sunset. In Morocco the dawn prayer is called at 3:57am and sunset at 19:39pm.
This incident is not a first in Morocco. Each Ramadan comes with reports of police arresting public fast-breakers across the country.
In 2012, a young man in the capital Rabat was handed a three-month jail sentence for eating in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
In Morocco, publicly breaking the fast before the Sun has set can result in penalties of up to six months in prison.
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.
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