Prison Insider: Here we are on the terrace of a bar close to your home, in downtown Lyon. What happened at your home this morning?¶
Sama. THIS MORNING, I was asleep in my apartment in Lyon, when I was startled from my sleep at the sound of my smoke detector. There were flames on my landing when I opened the entrance door. Someone had set fire to a heap of cartons in front of my door. I was so scared. I had no idea who could have done that, but I have to link it to the continuous death threats from one of my neighbours. The other day, he pointed a knife at me, saying: “be a good Muslim, or else, I will kill you!”. Following the fire this morning, I called the police and I decided to file a complaint.
Do you think that these threats and the fire on your doorstep are similar to what you went through in Morocco, which eventually forced you to leave your country?¶
S. Truly, I see the same hatred here in France as in Morocco. The only difference is that in Morocco, those who persecute lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people have the law on their side. According to article 489 of the Moroccan criminal code, those who commit, I quote: “indecent acts or acts against human nature with an individual of same sex” are liable to between 6 months and three years in prison.
I have experienced this persecution from the state, because I was arrested and imprisoned due to my sexual orientation. Because I am a transgender woman.
When and in what circumstances were you arrested in Morocco?¶
S. I was arrested in my city in Marrakesh in December 2014. That fateful evening, I had dinner in town and was waiting for a taxi to go back home. Suddenly, I was brutally arrested by the police, who forced me into their vehicle without any explanation. They seized my phone to stop me from contacting anyone. While in the vehicle, they constantly yelled homophobic insults like “you gays, you have invaded Morocco” and even “we are going to burn you all”. Later, I was placed in custody and locked up with about twenty other offenders and criminals. I screamed “I am a woman, do not lock me up with them!”
Prisoners threw me to the ground, some urinated on my face. Then several of them raped me. It happened under the watch of warders, who did nothing. For two days, I had nothing to eat nor drink. Any time I asked for water, they told me: “You can rot, you gay!”