Morocco police raided a private party and arrested eight gay men in Marrakech.
Officers then claimed to the press they were able to stop an ‘illegal wedding‘.
However, according to an invitee, it was just a party.
Morocco police crash party
Royal Gendarmerie officers (military police) claimed they located the supposed ‘wedding’ in the town of Saâda on 16 February.
It was there, the statement says, they found two men aged 24 and 26 wishing to celebrate their union at an event attended by ‘high profile Moroccan homosexuals’.
‘The wedding organizers also took a number of precautionary measures, such as asking the resort staff to turn off their phones and deny access to the room to uninvited guests,’ police said.
‘The organizers also reportedly wanted the photographer of the ceremony to be homosexual. 25 people including Moroccan businessmen attended.’
It was not an ‘illegal wedding’
A source told Gay Star News he was invited to the party to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but did not attend.
He said the party, organized on Facebook, did try to stop any leaks of photos, videos or location. Organizers confiscated all phones and a guard checked every person for weapons.
He believes someone at the tourist complex may have tipped off the military police.
‘The media keeps calling it a “gay wedding”,’ the source said. ‘It was not. It was but a simple party.
‘Whenever the police crash a gay party, they always call it a gay wedding.’
Escape for some, not for others
Both the source and police agreed what happened next.
Police surrounded the hotel but guests spotted them. Some guests fled by hiding in a nearby forest. Some ran to the road and escaped by hitchhiking.
One group tried to flee in a large taxi. Police arrested eight men and put them into custody.
‘I haven’t been in contact with any of them,’ our source said. ‘Other friends fear they will also get arrested if they try to contact them or anything. So we really don’t know anything yet.’
The private Facebook group, which organized the party, has now been deleted.
Homosexuality illegal in Morocco
Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco, punishable by up to three years in prison.
The Council of Europe, since 2013, has repeatedly called on Morocco to repeal the ban on homosexuality.
They have expressed ‘serious concern’ about its laws considering the country is a ‘partner of democracy’ in the CoE.
But the government has not listened.
Moroccan schools are required by law to teach a curriculum that ‘emphasises… the danger and depravity of unnatural acts.’