Rabat - The court of Zagora in southeastern Morocco sentenced on Thursday June 16 two young men for drinking water in broad daylight in Ramadan.
Rabat – The court of Zagora in southeastern Morocco sentenced on Thursday June 16 two young men for drinking water in broad daylight in Ramadan.
The two men, who work as porters for merchandise, were arrested on Monday, after they were caught drinking water in a local market. Following their arrest, they stated that they were forced to drink, because of the extreme heat and the tiredness they felt after a long day of work.
The sentence could have been harsher if the court did not accept the mitigating circumstances that somehow played in their favor.
According to Telquel, the judge accepted as “mitigating circumstances” the prevailing heat in Zagora and the fact that the men’s act had no ideological or political dimension.
Punishing people for eating or drinking in public during in Ramadan is controversial topic in Morocco. In recent years, a number of human rights organizations have been calling on the government to amend the penal code.
According to Article 222 of the Moroccan Penal “whoever, while clearly known for their membership in the Muslim religion, ostensibly breaks the fast in a public place during the time of Ramadan, without grounds permitted by this religion, is punishable by imprisonment of one to six months and a fine of MAD 200 to 500.”
The draft of the new penal code maintains the same prison sentences and increase the fine to MAD 10,000.
According to the teachings of the Quran, a person who is fasting can break the fast in case of necessity, especially if continuing the fast may adversely affect the person’s health. A person who is forced to break the fast, is supposed to make up for that day after the end of the Ramadan.