Victims of homophobic attack freed from prison in Morocco

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A court has released two men convicted of homosexuality after they were attacked and slashed in their own home.

A Moroccan court has released two men convicted of homosexuality, after they were attacked and dragged out into the street naked.

The court also jailed two men convicted of attacking the couple, in a case that has divided the country.

Victims of homophobic attack freed from prison in Morocco

Protestors gathered outside the court to defend both the victims and attackers, with two topless French activists detained and deported after arguing that homosexuality should be decriminalised in Morocco.

Meanwhile, local residents gathered to demand the release of the attackers, who were arrested after assaulting the men in an apartment in Beni Mellal last month.

The case attracted attention when a video clip appeared online, showing two men cowering naked – one of them covered in blood – being beaten and kicked.

The first victim was convicted of “acts of sexual deviancy with a person of the same sex” and “public drunkenness” and sentenced to four months in prison.

However, he was released yesterday following an appeal.

The other victim was handed a four-month suspended sentence for “sexual deviancy”.

For the attack on the couple, one defendant was handed a six-month prison sentence and another received four months for “forced entry, resorting to violence and carrying weapons”.

Two others were acquitted and a fifth is to be tried later in a minors’ court.

During the attack, the men were dragged outside, while anti-gay slurs and “Call the authorities!” – apparently shouted by the assailants – can be heard in the background.

Victims of homophobic attack freed from prison in Morocco

LGBT rights campaigners criticised the courts original decision to prosecute the men, claiming the move will only increase homophobic attacks.

Moroccan law penalises acts of “sexual deviancy” between members of the same sex.

Gay sex is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a fine.

In February, two Moroccan youths were jailed for one and a half years and fined 2,000 dirhams each on charges of homosexuality.