The council are calling for an overhaul of the Moroccan penal system to reflect individualism.
Rabat – The National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) has prepared a memorandum calling for a reform of the Moroccan penal code. With a focus on personal freedoms, the council are calling for the decriminalization of sex outside marriage. Currently the penal code punishes sex outside of wedlock with imprisonment for one month to one year.
CNDH will present their document to the House of Representatives today, October 31, at 4 pm.
According to the organization, the ongoing debate about individual freedoms and “the gravity of physical and verbal abuse that happen in both public and private spaces” have pushed the council to request changes to the penal code.
The council affirms that their plea aims to achieve “a penal code that protects freedoms and takes into account the principles of legitimacy, necessity, and proportionality.”
The memorandum addresses several chapters of the penal code; the non-prescription of acts of torture, the repression of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, the fight against forced disappearances, and the criminalization of incitement to violence, hate and discrimination.
CNDH also announced their plans to hold future meetings with the concerned parties.
The council expects the parliament to play its role in strengthening democracy. The members of parliament “are called today more than ever to be in line with the changes that Morocco knows and to support the building of a state of law where the law responds to the general will,” according to the organization.
The debate over individual freedoms and a reform of Morocco’s penal code came into the spotlight after the arrest of journalist Hajar Raissouni.
Police arrested Raissouni for illegal abortion, along with her fiance and medical team. Following the arrest a number of activists and organizations, including CNDH, took part in public protests. The protests criticized the Moroccan penal code and the criminalization of abortion and sex outside of wedlock. They also called for the journalists’ freedom.
One month after Raissouni’s arrest, and after the numerous demonstrations, King Mohammed VI granted the journalist, and all defendants in the case, a royal pardon.