Rabat - In a statement issued in May 20, international NGO Amnesty International called on the Moroccan government to decriminalize sex out of marriage and revise the draft Penal Code presented by the Minister of Justice Mustapha Ramid in April 2015.
Rabat – In a statement issued in May 20, international NGO Amnesty International called on the Moroccan government to decriminalize sex out of marriage and revise the draft Penal Code presented by the Minister of Justice Mustapha Ramid in April 2015.
Sexual relationships out of wedlock are considered illegal by law in Morocco: Article 490 of the Penal Code punishes all out-of-marriage sexual relationships with imprisonment from one to three months and a fine of up to 2000 dollars.
During the presentation of the draft Penal Code , Minister of Justice Mustapha Ramid said that his Ministry would not tolerate those who have sex out of marriage because such illegal practices “touch the essence of Moroccan public order which was founded on public morality and tarnish the Islamic identity of the country headed by the King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful.”
Amnesty International finds the Moroccan Penal Code “very restrictive to personal liberties,” especially to the sexual life of individuals. The organization notes in the paper addressed to the Moroccan government that marriage is considered the “central criterion of legal sex” in the Moroccan Penal Code, while for the organization it is “consent”, not marriage.
The organization goes further to call on the revision and redefinition of “sexual harassment”, insisting that forced sex must be criminalized even within the institution of marriage.
For Amnesty, rape is “any act of forceful or imposed sexual penetration.” Sexual harassment is defined by Amnesty as “any form of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature expressed physically, verbally, or non-verbally, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, especially when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment.”
The NGO considers the Moroccan Penal Code’s definition of rape as “too vague and requires changes” to comply with the international standards. The organization calls on the Moroccan government to redefine these concepts and review its Penal Code to promote personal freedoms.