Rape law under pressure in Morocco

Morocco's leaders are facing increasing pressure to bolster women's rights in the North African country in the wake of growing unease around the case of a girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist.

Morocco: women's rights pressure building

The case of 16-year-old Amina Filali – who killed herself in early March – has triggered a campaign to reform what many in the country see as outdated and barbaric legislation.
Qatar-based news agency Al Jazeera reported in the last few days clause 475 of the Moroccan penal code essentially absolves any ‘kidnapper’ of abducting a minor if he marries his victim. In these terms, ‘kidnapper’ can signify ‘rapist’ or ‘attacker’, Al Jazeera points out.

Honour tradition

Many have deemed clause 475 as an attempt to bolster the honour tradition in Morocco, which dictates that women must preserve their virginity to marry. Although the nation’s 2011 constitution regards men and women as equals, the rest of the legal system has reportedly not maintained pace.
Filali’s rapist-husband -- who Al Jazeera alleges is named Mustafa Fallaq -- was able to obtain permission to marry the girl by her mother under the law.

Evade prosecution

‘I had to marry her to him because I couldn't allow my daughter to have no future and stay unmarried,’ the mother said in an interview with the Associated Press.
On account of the marriage and consistent with Moroccan law, the husband has managed to evade prosecution for the girls rape and subsequent death.

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