Saturday, February 27, 2021

Jailing of Revenge Porn Victim in Morocco Sparks Calls to Change Sex Laws

RELATED POSTS

A Moroccan social media campaign aims to repel a law criminalizing sex outside of marriage after a woman was jailed for being victimized by what activists say constitutes as revenge porn.

According to Moroccan media reports, the woman—identified only as Hanaa—was arrested last month in the city of Tetouan after a video depicting her sexual encounter with a man was leaked online. The single mother of two was handed a one month jail sentence and a fine of 500 dirhams. She was reportedly charged under two articles in the Muslim-majority country’s Penal Code: article 483 criminalizing “public insult against modesty” and article 490 criminalizing sex outside of marriage.

Activists campaigning for Hanaa’s freedom said the video was recorded and distributed without her knowledge or consent.

The woman’s partner in the video is wanted by police, local media reported. The identity of the person behind the leak remains unclear, as do any legal consequences they may face.

Angered by Hanaa’s arrest and sentencing, hundreds of Moroccan social media users called for the abrogation of article 490, which punishes sex out of wedlock with one month to a year in prison. Images with the campaign’s signature red backdrop flooded Instagram, while #STOP490 trended on Twitter in Morocco.

Moroccan Outlaws—a progressive movement founded by award-winning writer Leila Slimani and filmmaker Sonia Terrab—is credited with having launched the campaign. The group shared images, memes and social media filters critical of article 490, mobilizing Moroccan youth and influencers alike.

Moroccan-Portuguese actress Sarah Perles called the law “archaic”, adding “Moroccans have sex outside of marriage, whether we like it or not.”

“I find this revolting,” Perles said on Instagram. “I hope this law gets repealed, and for Moroccans to be free to do what they want with their minds and bodies.”

In a Facebook post, Islamic feminist Asma Lamrabet said article 490 is “unacceptable in today’s Morocco.”

“Having sex outside of marriage is religiously forbidden, but within a society, this act privately practiced between adults cannot be penalized, as it is within the purview of one’s moral convictions,” she wrote. “Intervening in people’s private lives and intimacy is against Islam, which conditions every accusation of this type by rendering it impossible to prove.”

Omar Balafrej, a member of Morocco’s parliament, supported calls to repel article 490 on his Facebook page.

The campaign also protested against the Penal Code’s article 489, which criminalizes same-sex relations.

Hanaa’s imprisonment echoed that of journalist Hajar Raissouni, whose case sparked the Moroccan Outlaws movement. In 2019, Raissouni was arrested on charges of premarital sex and having an abortion. The journalist and her fiancé were sentenced to one year in jail, while her gynecologist was handed two years. They were later pardoned by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The pardon did little to sway human rights organizations, which criticized the charges as a guise for imprisoning Raissouni over her critical reporting.

Moroccan women demonstration against gender-based violence
Women take part in a protest denouncing gender-based violence in the Moroccan city of Rabat on December 8, 2012. Moroccan social media users recently launched an online campaign against a law criminalizing sex outside of marriage.
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

————————

Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/jailing-revenge-porn-victim-morocco-sparks-calls-change-sex-laws-1567548 on .

Related Posts

Next Post

RECOMMENDED