A Morocco court acquits an unofficially married couple of adultery

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A court in Zagora has acquitted a couple living in cohabitation from adultery, in an unprecedented ruling.

According to EFE, the man was denounced by his first wife for violence and adultery for having lived with another woman, a crime punishable by two years in prison.

The first wife thus filed a complaint against her husband, accusing him of having assaulted her and expelling her from the marital home with her children. During the investigation, the husband, who was on bail, denied the first accusation, explaining that his wife left the house of her own accord, following a dispute.

As for the second accusation of adultery, he indicated that he lived with his second wife, after having organized an engagement party according to the Muslim tradition. The latter was attended by family members, they said. This type of marriage is not recognized by Moroccan law but is «socially accepted».

By ruling on the case, the magistrate thus acquitted the couple of the crime of adultery, considering that «the absence of a marriage certificate is not a reason» to consider this relationship as an adulterous one.

The judge however found the man guilty of gender-based violence against his first wife and sentenced him to two months in prison, with a fine of 2,000 dirhams, in addition to damages of 10,000 dirhams for her benefit.

According to the latest annual report of the general prosecutor's office, 15,192 people in Morocco were prosecuted in 2019 for sexual relations outside marriage (article 490 of the Penal Code). In addition, 3,270 other people were prosecuted for adultery.

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