May 17, 2021
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Rabat – Nezha Skalli, a Moroccan MP from the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) and a former Minister of Solidarity and Women, said that criminalizing sexual relationships out of wedlock would cause the majority of young people to end up in prison.Speaking to news website Alyaoum24, Nezha Skalli criticized the new draft law of the proposed amendments to the Penal Code. She raised questions of philosophical vision and whether the bill is even constitutional.“Everyone has been waiting for this new project to bring a new philosophical vision that is in line with the new constitution and international conventions, but it came with the same provisions that prevailed during the seventies at a time when Morocco was away from the current human rights situation,” she told Alyaoum24. Skalli’s comments put her directly at odds with her leftist party, a member of the governmental coalition led by the conservative party of Justice and Development (PJD).She said that if the draft authors want to regulate these relationships and reduce them, they must provide young people with tax exemptions and jobs so they can get married.“How is it possible not to provide for a young man the necessary means to lead a normal life and at the same time prevent him from enjoying his natural rights,” she added.The Moroccan government has been getting an earful of criticism about the new draft of proposed amendments to the Penal Code.The introduced draft law, if adopted, would make rape, sexual harassment and sexual relations out of wedlock criminal offences.Article 490 of Morocco’s current penal code stipulates that sex outside marriage is punishable by up to one year in prison.In 2007, a study conducted by the health ministry found that 36 per cent of young Moroccan men had had sexual relationship out of wedlock, while the percentage of unmarried young women who had lost their virginity stood at 15 per cent. read more