Rabat – The two female minors arrested in Marrakesh on charges of “homosexuality” last week have been afforded a temporary release, according to a new report by Telquel.Sanaa and Hajar – who had been arrested on Thursday last week – will still face a Moroccan court on Friday, November 4th, according to the Free Feminist Union (UFL).Omar Arbib of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights said the two girls had been arrested after a relative saw them kissing in a house in Hay Mohammadi of the coastal tourist city. The UFL originally spread news of the arrest to the Moroccan media, saying the two girls had been held in a prison instead of a correctional facility for minors.As of Wednesday, the girls’ family members had not been informed of inmate visiting times, but had been instructed to bring identifying documents to a police station in Marrakesh.Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code punishes sexual activities between people of the same sex with a prison sentence that could range between six months to three years as well as a fine ranging from MAD 120 to MAD 1,200. The same article also asserts that heterosexual sexual relations out of wedlock are punishable by law.Homosexual couples have been arrested and charged several times this year, all over Morocco, including Casablanca and Beni Mellal. The Beni Mellal incident included several locals who forcibly entered the home of a citizen to beat him for engaging in homosexual activities.
During his three-day visit, which began yesterday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Jan Pronk, is scheduled to meet with Southern Sudanese Vice-President Riek Machar as well as with the Speaker of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly. Mr. Pronk will also discuss with the commanders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the former rebel Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) security issues, including the safety of humanitarian workers in the areas where rebels from Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been reported to be active.Earlier this month, a humanitarian aid worker was killed near the border with Uganda a week after two workers helping to remove landmines were shot to death in the same area.Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said the situation in Darfur was reported to be tense due to both inter-tribal and factional fighting in many areas of the western region, where nearly two years of fighting between Government forces, pro-government militias and rebels have killed some 180,000 people and displaced 2 million others.Fighting between Arab tribes was reported to be continuing in the Geneina area of West Darfur, leading to a number of casualties.In South Darfur, the situation in Gereida is reported to be tense following an alleged attack by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on an Arab tribe in Shergeila village on Friday. The African Unity (AU) monitoring mission confirmed 62 casualties amongst the attackers. Some 10,000 people displaced from the village and neighbouring villages are seeking refuge at Gereida.In North Darfur, there are reports of internal fighting between members of the rebel Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA). UNMIS is closely following the developments which seem to be linked to a political split within the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A).
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OUR REVIEW OF the year that was 2013 would not be complete without discussion of the now infamous dropping of Brian O’Driscoll for the third Test of the Lions tour of Australia.The iconic centre’s exclusion from the match-day squad following the return from injury of Jamie Roberts was quite nearly the only focus in Ireland in the build-up to the deciding Test, showing us – if a sign was even needed – how the Lions is still largely about our own players doing well within the multi-national frame.Jamie Heaslip was dropped too, but the uproar focused around O’Driscoll’s ‘scapegoating’ following the poor team performance in the second Test defeat. Jonathan Davies was preferred at outside centre for the deciding game of the series, something that really should not have been such a major shock in hindsight.Roberts and Davies were the centre pairing that head coach Warren Gatland wanted all along, the duo that he felt could ruthlessly punish what he believed was a comparatively lightweight Australian midfield. If Roberts had not sustained a hamstring injury in the warm-up game against the Waratahs, he would have started alongside Davies in the first Test.Did O’Driscoll’s exclusion make a difference on the pitch for Test number three?It’s impossible to know with utter certainty, but it was most likely irrelevant who played in the centre, given the dominance of the Lions forwards. With that kind of platform, you or I could have done a decent job in midfield. Gatland’s selections up front were 100% spot on and the Lions won the game there.O’Driscoll celebrates the Lions success with positional rival Jonathan Davies. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan.We could speculate that O’Driscoll would have used his array of passes and flicks to create even more chances for the Lions, but it’s a moot point. Davies had a solid outing in a good team performance, touching the ball 10 times and completing all 10 of his tackles. He was not a decisive influence, but neither was he a negative one.So Ireland did overreact to his axing from the team?Not so. Following sport is about more than the tactical, technical and physical functioning of the teams we choose to support, even more so with a concept like the Lions. Sport is also about both reflecting and escaping the experience of being human. A man like O’Driscoll is only a legend because rugby fans make him so.Ireland’s reaction was not truly based on the belief that O’Driscoll was a better pick than Davies, that argument was always irrelevant. Instead, people may have felt it was wrong that the man who was the focus of so many of our feelings was being denied that chance to create history with the Lions, to finally be part of a winning tour after his three previous failures.It was not only about O’Driscoll’s feelings, but rather those of the majority of rugby fans in Ireland. Watching the Leinster centre being part of that third Test success would have made so many people genuinely happy, truly thrilled. It was wonderful to see Sexton, Bowe, O’Brien and Murray playing their parts, but it just wasn’t the same experience.Already deprived of Paul O’Connell through injury, Ireland lost its central focus for the third Test and the reaction was genuine. As with so many other things in life, there was an element of overreaction that spilled into abuse and animosity, directed towards Gatland and Davies on this occasion.But for most rugby fans, there was simply sheer disappointment at the lost chance to see Ireland’s greatest rugby hero making more international history.Like rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >