LGBTI rights in Morocco
Moroccan activist with the number 489 written on her shirt, in reference to article 489 which stipulates that homosexuality is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail, participates in a vigil in Rabat on 15 June AFP/Getty Images

Moroccan authorities have pressed charges of homosexuality against two teenage girls after they were allegedly caught kissing and hugging. The pair, only identified as 16-year-old Sanaa and 17-year-old Hajar, were arrested in Marrakesh in October.

"They were caught kissing and hugging on the roof of a house in Hay Mohammadi district [Casablanca]," Omar Arbib, an activist from the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (MAHR), told news agency AFP.

"Someone photographed them, sent the picture to the family who informed the police".

The two girls were arrested on the same day and were charged with "licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex". They are due to appear in court on 4 November.

MAHR has appointed a lawyer to defend the girls and has called on the Moroccan government to repeal anti-gay laws.

Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco. According to article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code, gay people face detention of up to three years and fines of up to 1,000 dirhams (£81, $102).

Two years ago, British tourist Ray Cole, 70, was arrested in Marrakesh for "homosexual acts". Reports claimed Cole had travelled to Morocco to visit a man, Jamal Jam Wald Nass.

The pair were stopped by police at a bus stop on 18 September and detained on the grounds of suspected homosexuality. Cole and Nass were released in October 2014.