A Moroccan woman carries a sack on her head as she walks along a narrow street in the Jewish Mellah quarter of Tinghir, April 21, 2014. AFP/FADEL SENNA
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An overhaul of Morocco's penal code has triggered a lively debate on morality in the conservative North African nation, where homosexuality and sexual relations outside marriage are forbidden.Now, 40 sections are to be repealed, 187 added and 576 amended, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid, of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), said during a public consultation in Rabat.The penalty for failing to fast in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan remains six months in jail, although that can now be substituted by a maximum fine of 10,000 dirhams.Under the changes, the offense of "contempt against religions" is introduced, punishable by between six months and two years in prison.Lawyer Abdel-Rahim Jamai said during one public consultation that the new basic law is actually a step backward when it comes to personal freedoms.
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