Moroccans Protest Arrest of Kissing Teen Couple

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Two Moroccan teens were arrested last month after a newspaper printed a Facebook photo of couple engaged in a kiss. Now, protesters are fighting back against the actions of law enforcement.

The couple, aged 14 and 15, were arrested for being a “danger to social order,” and were detained for “public indecency.” They remain in a juvenile detention center, and are scheduled to appear in court today for a closed hearing. The boy who took the photo, a friend of the couple, is also being detained.

Now Moroccans are taking to Twitter to protest, using the hashtag #Nadorkiss.

A Moroccan branch of “hactivist” group Anonymous posted the photo of the illicit display of affection, writing, “THIS is the kiss. THIS is what the Gov feels is destroying the Nat'l order and social harmony of Morocco.”

Others organized a “kiss-in,” tweeting photos of themselves kissing in public.

Amnesty International has spoken out about the arrests.

"It is simply absurd that these teenagers could face a prison term just for kissing and posting a photo on Facebook," said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa director of the organization. "These young people should never have been detained in the first place - there is no imaginable reason why expression of this type ought to result in prosecution. Launching a judicial investigation into a complaint about an act as benign as teenagers kissing is ridiculous - it should be dismissed out of hand." 

Soukaina Benchekroun, a trainee lawyer in Casablanca, expressed similar sentiments. "This arrest could only be justified if the minors were a real danger to society,” he said. “A simple kiss, even repeated, cannot justify the placement of a juvenile in a correctional facility."

Still, more conservative Moroccans are disturbed by public displays of affection. The kiss-in was interrupted by protesters yelling things like, "Go do that in America, or Europe. Here, we will not let it happen!"

Batoul Sidaoui, 56, said, "If it was my daughter, I would have killed her. We are not in France here. It's not our culture to do these things."

Sources: Daily Mail, Al Jazeera