Morocco: girls sued over mini skirt, trial divides country

Team of 300 lawyers representing young women

08 July, 15:04

    Miniskirt sparked controversy in Morocco Miniskirt sparked controversy in Morocco

    (by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) - ROME, JULY 8 - A skirt deemed too short - although it is unclear who should judge whether a skirt is too short, the censor or designer - has cost two young Moroccans a lawsuit. The trial is now dividing the Kingdom, pitting those calling for an exemplary conviction against those slamming it as an aggression on human rights.

    The two young women from Inezgane, near Agadir, are charged with indecent exposure and their case has become a national affair with very vocal opposing views and the feeling that this issue is set to become bigger than what the officers thought when they first reported the case at the request of a group of uncompromising Muslims. To understand what is going on it is only necessary to say that the trial, which started and was immediately postponed till July 13, immediately had a common denominator in the protests of both those (the retailers of the souk of Inezgane where the two girls were training as hair stylists) are asking for a hard line and those demanding an acquittal because they believe the case goes against personal choices.

    The protests had different scenarios because demonstrations supporting the two young women took place in Casablanca, Rabat, Tangiers and Marrakech while Agadir hosted another protest against the defendants.

    The episode was initially a local incident but is getting a national public and could have repercussions beyond the current controversy. The public opinion - except for particularly conservative Muslims - has sided with the two girls who are represented by a group of 300 lawyers. The team has offered to represent them for free with lawyers from every city of the Kingdom under the sponsorship of women's and human rights groups. The trial pitting the prosecution against the defense team will focus on the interpretation of the criminal code and whether, as claimed by Islamic radicals close to the Takfiri movement, it should contemplate a 'moral' vision of society based on an orthodox interpretation of Islam.

    The impression gathered so far in the initial proceedings is that the prosecution and defense will try to find a reasonable solution that will not exacerbate feelings. But the fear is that the real ''trial'' will take place outside the courtroom with at stake the country's will to stay tolerant and reasonable - characteristics that clash with the growing weight of fundamentalism. (ANSAmed)

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