Moroccan Adulterer Acquitted!

Court Recognizes Traditional Marriage

Adultery laws in Morocco aren’t for the faint of heart.
Life for cheaters is hard under the Moroccan sun (Author:

In a stunning reversal of an oppressive trend in a country where nearly 3300 people are prosecuted for adultery, annually, a man living with his second wife was found innocent of adultery under article 491 of the penal code there.

The man who married his second wife in a traditional ceremony before his family was accused of adultery. The reason? His first wife complained because the happy couple didn’t have a marriage certificate and the case got traction. The judge thankfully recognized the traditional marriage as lawful, therefore, found the pair not guilty.

A celebration of sorts, the man was convicted of beating his first wife and sentenced to two months in jail. Although he sounds charming, it’s good to see the courts understand sending people to jail for consensual sex in all circumstances isn’t always cool. Here’s what the laws look like in the penal code:

Article 490

All persons of the opposite sex who are not related by marriage, and have sexual relations with each other, are punishable by imprisonment for one month to one year.

Article 491

Any married person convicted of adultery is punishable by imprisonment for one to two years; prosecution is pursued only on a complaint from the offended spouse.

Article 490 is the sort of law built for assholes. A year ago, a Moroccan woman was made famous on social media as the subject of revenge pornby a jilted lover. After going viral, not only was she humiliated, but she was also convicted under 490 to a month in jail because she had sex outside of marriage. It is difficult to tell what is more perverted under such a system — having sex or being publicly humiliated and jailed for it? Over 15,000 were prosecuted for it in 2019.

While down on cheaters (like who isn’t?), the Moroccan legal system make women afraid to report rape because they might go to jail for it.Amnesty International reports laws like 490 are the cause of this. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because rapists can no longer get off criminally if they marry their under-18 victims, so yay.

The underlying issue with Morocco’s sex laws is they use marriage rather than consent as the main driver in determining sex crimes. Meaning you cannot rape your wife or husband under Moroccan law, but consensual sex with them before marriage will land you in jail.

Conservatives and religious figures in Morocco want the laws upheld, no doubt figuring the nation’s morals are at stake. Of course the MMGAs* do. But at what cost? Shaming women using revenge porn is horrible enough, but throwing them in jail will only inspire more Moroccan men to out their sex partners if a relationship goes bad.

Bottom line — Morocco’s not the best place in the world to find a little strange.

* Make Morocco Great Again 🙂

Interested in learning more about adultery law around the world? Have a look at the growing collection —Lesson Thirteen — Adultery and the Law
The things you should know before you get

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© Teresa J Conway, 2021

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on April 8, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts.

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