Calling them “prisoners of conscience,” Amnesty International has called for the release of six men imprisoned for homosexuality after a court upheld their convictions brought down following an alleged “gay wedding” in the northern city of Al-Qasr Al-Kabir last November.
Reuters reports: “The six were arrested in late November after rumours spread that a party they had held in the northern town of Ksar el Kebir was really an illegal gay wedding. The national press pounced on the story, and Islamist groups condemned what they saw as an attack on public morals and demanded an official investigation. Hundreds of angry residents marched through Ksar el Kebir to demand ‘justice’ and put pressure on the authorities to hand out harsh sentences. The six men were found guilty and given jail sentences by a lower court last month. They had all pleaded not guilty. The appeal court upheld a 10-month sentence against the party’s alleged organiser, identified as F., for homosexuality and the illegal sale of alcohol, defence lawyer Mohamed Sebbar said. The five others had their jail terms cut to between two and four months from between four and six months, he said. All six had pleaded not guilty to the charges. ‘It’s a very severe judgment because this case is empty,’ said Sebbar. ‘There is no proof that these men practised homosexuality in the affair of Ksar el Kebir.'”
Said Amnesty’s Benedicte Goderiaux: “We’re also concerned for their safety. Some of them should get out of prison within about 15 days — what will happen to them after all the public threats against them?”