Published On: Fri, Mar 8th, 2013

Morocco Inches Closer to Amend Law On Rape, Child Marriage




By Mohamed Hikal

Moroco News Tribune


Taroudant, Morocco | Defenders of women’s rights in Morocco have won their battle to abolish the law entitling a rapist to marry his victim.

The advocators took their battle to court in a pursuit to end the law allowing underage marriage. This move came a year after the Moroccan minor Amina Elfilali committed suicide when she was forced to marry her rapist.

Amina’s suicide act on March the 10, 2012 subsequent to her forced marriage with her rapist caused an uproar and shock throughout Morocco and even overseas.

The 475 article in the Moroccan criminal law has allowed a rapist to get away with it by marrying his victim.

A year after Amina’s tragedy, abolishing that article has become a must mostly after the Islamist government expressed their approval to amend the law officially besides the support shown by the consultants’ council (second chamber in the Moroccan Parliament).

This law is expected to be looked into by the first chamber the next spring session.

“We have supported further amendments aiming at securing more protection to minors,” Mustapha Erramid, justice and freedoms minister told France Presse.

Individuals found guilty of such acts could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.

Also, Rachida Tahiri, Progress and Development Party deputy and ex- head of Democratic Association for Moroccan Women stated that the battle has been moved to a new front with the aim to abolish underage marriage which increased from 30 to 35 000 cases between the years 2008 and 2010.

The 19th article from the Moroccan family code forbids the marriage of females under the age of 18. However, there are sections within the same article entitling the judge to make exceptions away from the law.

“We have noticed that it is so common for a female in rural areas to marry at the age of 13,” said Zoubida Bouiad, USFP party deputy.

“10 percent of young Moroccan females marry prior to the age of 18,” she confirmed.

In a footage testimony obtained by France Presse, a young lady from Meknes, whose identity was kept secret, admitted that she was sedated and forced to marry at the age of 13 and a half.  “I had been tortured for a year by my husband before I got divorce,” she confessed.

Amnesty International had stated that there are so many sections in the Moroccan criminal law that need to be modified in order to protect women against all sort of discrimination and violence.