Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - International women’s rights body Equality Now Friday called on Moroccan authorities to take action and end the legal exemption for rapists who marry their victims, citing the incident of 15-year-old Safae from Tangiers who was raped and impregnated in January 2011 when she was 14.
“Though she and her mother filed a complaint, according to recent reports they were pressured to drop the charges by the prosecutor and the judge. Instead, without her parents being present, the judge allegedly made Safae marry her rapist in order to save her ‘honour’. By doing so, the law also removed the threat of criminal penalty on Safae’s rapist,” Equality Now said in a statement obtained by PANA here.
As with a previous case of 16-year-old Amina Filali, who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, the rights group said: “This highlights the difficulties faced by Moroccan girls in achieving justice in sexual violence cases.”
It pointed out that action is urgently needed to repeal Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code and develop child protection mechanisms, including judicial training, so that judges cannot and do not push girls into marrying their rapists.
To prevent future deaths and violations of girls’ and women’s rights, Equality Now has urged its counterpart groups and supporters in Morocco to encourage the government to do everything it can to ensure that girls and women are protected from violence and discrimination and have access to justice when they face abuse.
“Equality Now supports Union de L'Action Feminine, La Marche des Femmes Libres and civil society organizations working on these issues in Morocco,” the statement said.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 18May2012