By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 3/2/2006 | 9:48 am
A network specialized in the production of pornographic films has been dismantled in Marrakech. About 18 Moroccans, among them a French of Moroccan descent, were arrested and sent to court. Other suspects are still at large.
Eighteen young poor Moroccans from Marrakech got involved in a very bad adventure, risking their reputation for a very insignificant sum of money.
After two months of investigations, an operation headed by the general intelligence services in collaboration with the Marrakech judicial police led to the arrest on Feb. 17 of 18 members of a network specialized in the production of homosexual pornographic films.
The majority of the homosexuals arrested came from a popular neighborhood located at Sidi Youssef Ben Ali prefecture. Aged between 18 and 20, these very young homos found themselves involved in this sex scandal for financial needs. They got only MAD 500 each a film. Others got MAD 250 for helping shoot in a sports club, which is considered very insignificant money in the porn industry.
Based on intelligence data, the investigations into the case were secretly conducted, which made it possible to identify the members of the network and the places where they shot these films.
The films were broadcast in an internet site, which has about 500 members, who pay a monthly tuition fee of Euros 42. The porn production company, which runs the website, earns more than Euro 20,000 a month. The site is now inaccessible in Morocco, after being blocked by the Moroccan authorities.
The hearing of the porn scandal case, which started on Monday with the presence of about 30 lawyers, will resume on Friday.
No further details were yet given regarding this affair, but sources from the Rabat Police Department have indicated that the main suspect or the mastermind of this affair, currently on search warrant, is a French national, who is managing these operations from France.
The Marrakech police dismantled, few years ago, a child pornographic network, essentially headed by French nationals.
According to the Moroccan penal code, the individuals involved in this scandal, if convicted, risk one to 5 years imprisonment, with paying a fine ranging from MAD 5,000 to 1 million.
In the same vein, several local associations in Marrakech staged a sit-in before the city's court of first instance to denounce sex tourism.
Agadir, south of Morocco, another tourist city has known last year a big sex scandal, which trigged the concern of most national media.
The scandal started following the discovery of a pornographic DVD showing about 80 Moroccan women.
Pornography being a crime in Morocco, 13 of them were arrested, one of them a 17-year-old minor, and the others are on search warrant by the police.
It appeared that all these women, many of whom belonged to a poor background, were the victims of the same person, Belgian Philippe Servaty, who promised to marry them and take them to Europe.
After gaining their trust, he took pornographic photographs of them and published them without their knowledge and consent on the internet. The photographs were later copied and sold in Agadir on CDs for less than MAD 10.
Servaty, a Belgian national who used to work for the Brussels-based newspaper Le Soir, remains free, because pornography is not considered a crime in his country.
In July of the same year, the Agadir court issued prison sentences against 60 prostitutes arrested with clients in a hotel.
In addition to these prostitutes, 28 Saudi tourists and 9 Kuwaitis were arrested, as well as seven employees of the hotel.
The foreign tourists were expelled from Morocco without charge while 67 Moroccans were prosecuted for debauchery and incitement of sexual tourism.
The Agadir authorities have decided to clamp down on prostitution in the city, only a few weeks after the Agadir scandal attracted international attention on sex tourism in Morocco.
The issue of sex tourism in Morocco continues to attract media's attention and encourage them to constantly publish investigative reporting on the subject in other cities.