The Moroccan Association for Human Rights, along with Human Rights Watch, is launching a petition following the imprisonment of six men for same sex sexual conduct.

Police in Morocco arrested the men in November 2007 after a video circulated on the Internet showing a private party in Ksar-el-Kbir.

A Tangiers appeals court upheld the conviction under Article 489 of Morocco’s penal code, which criminalises sexual conduct between members of the same sex, despite the video showing no evidence of sexual acts.

At trial, the prosecution produced no evidence that any of the defendants had violated Article 489, which provides prison terms for people who commit “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

The petition aims to repeal Article 489 of the code and quash the verdicts against the men, who were sentenced to between four and ten months in prison.

Article 489 gives the police, and, in this case the judiciary, power to interfere arbitrarily with people’s private lives.

The men were arrested by police between November 23rd and 25th 2007, after a video circulated online, including on YouTube, purporting to show a private party, allegedly including the men.

Press reports claimed the party was a “gay marriage.”

The six men range in age from 20 to 61 years old.

The Moroccan government is being urged to protect the human rights to privacy and to a fair trial.

Supporters are requested to show their opposition to Moroccan authorities by sending an email to petitionmaroc@hrw.org.