Change in Moroccan Law Will No Longer Link Rape to Marriage

In 2012, a teenager took her life because she was being forced to marry her assailant

By on January 24th, 2013 07:46 GMT

Following protests, Morocco's Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid has announced that the country will change its law on allowing rapists to go free if they marry their victims.

Al Jazeera writes that demonstrations were triggered by the suicide of a 16-year-old rape victim in March 2012. She had been forced, by the law, the community and her family, to marry her attacker.

Amina Al Filali had received a court order which specified that she was legally obligated to marry the man, who had a history of violence.

The incident prompted the start of a petition, which has been signed by approximately 500,000 people, Global Post adds.

At this point, the Moroccan penal code, in French, refers to a rapist as a “kidnapper.” Article 475 protects said kidnapper from prosecution.

A similar provision exists in the Arabic version of the law, in which the act is worded as “kidnapping” or “deceiving” a minor. The law provides that the assailant is to not be charged if he marries the victim.

The latest modifications to the family law came with an addendum, in which the legal marriage age was raised from 15 to 18 years old. However, it did not include an amendment to article 475.

“We thought the new Family Code would unite us, that it would give us back our rights and protect us, but no one is there to encourage it or implement it,” students said in a video.

The ‎Facebook page and Twitter hashtag #RIPAmina have been created to support a reform in the law.

“We can't ignore what happened, one of the things we are looking for is to toughen the sentence for rape. We are also looking to creating a debate on the cultural and social aspects to create a comprehensive reform,” says communications minister Mustapha el-Khalfi.

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