Two Moroccan women aged 23 and 29 are facing charges of “gross indecency”, a rights group and media reported on Thursday.
The women who are hairdressers were arrested as they strolled through the open-air market in Inezgane, a suburb of the southern city of Agadir on Tuesday, June 16.
The merchants in the market who gathered around them accused the women of wearing flimsy and “immoral” clothes.
Due to the intervention of security forces, the women were wrested away from the angry crowd. They were placed inside a police car before being taken to a police station where they were charged with gross indecency.
Fouzia Assouli, the head of the women’s rights organisation LDDF, told journalists that a trial date has been set for July 6.
Bouchra Chetouani, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) said: “They were dressed in a very respectable fashion.”
According to the police report, the women were said to have worn clothes that were “too tight”. Article 483 of Morocco’s penal code states that anyone found guilty of committing an act of “public obscenity” such as “gross indecency” can be jailed for between a month and two years.
Supporters of the women have launched an online petition tagged: “Wearing a dress is not a crime”. So far it has been signed by more than 8,000 supporters as of Thursday afternoon.
The popular musician and actress Jennifer Lopez had earlier in the month sparked anger among conservatives in Morocco for being, “scantily” dressed during a concert in Rabat that was broadcast on public television.