Gay Moroccan fears for safety after arrest in dress

A gay Moroccan man has said he fears for his life after being arrested while wearing a dress on on New Year’s Eve.

Chafik Lafrid, who is 33, had kept his sexuality a secret until his arrest went viral on social media.

Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco and article 489 of the country’s penal code stipulates prison terms of six months to three years for “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

Lafrid, an administrator at a medical clinic, was returning home from a party in Marrakesh when a scooter hit his car.

A police officer arrived and ordered him to step out of the car, but Lafrid refused, over fears of how outlookers would react to his dress, wig and make-up.

Speaking to AFP, he said: “The policeman broke the window with his baton and forced me out of the car. He took off my wig, dragged me to the ground and handcuffed me.”

Moroccan activists carrying lit candles and flags participate in a vigil in Rabat on June 15, 2016, pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando gay club shooting. Forty-nine people were killed in the US resort city of Orlando this week when Omar Mateen sprayed a gay nightclub with bullets during a three-hour siege. / AFP / FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)


Photos show Lafrid wearing handcuffs while being escorted by police, as a crowd watches and insults him.

He was taken to a police station and questioned about the accident, but faces no legal action as the scooter rider did not press charges.

After he was released, however, images of his arrest taken by police were leaked on social media, as well as his personal documents.

He told AFP his address had also been posted on social media, leaving him fearing for his life. Lafrid now hides his face under a baseball cap when he’s out in public.

“My address has been published on the Internet, any fundamentalist could come and try to harm me,” he said, adding he was also outed to his family.

The Moroccan police have sanctioned four Marrakesh officers for “breach of professional obligations” over the leaking of Lafrid’s identity, APF reported.

Lafrid has said he wishes to leave Morocco as he not longer feels safe.