The parents of a Moroccan girl who committed suicide after she was reportedly forced to marry her rapist rejected a statement by the ministry of justice indicating that Amina al-Filali was “penetrated with her prior consent.”
While taking part in a protest organized by dozens of Moroccan women in front of the parliament in the capital, Rabat, the parents of 16-year old Amina contradicted the official account and said the rapist, identified as Mustafa Fallaq, placed a knife on their daughter’s neck in the street and dragged her to a nearby forest where he raped her.
“After she was examined by a doctor who confirmed she was penetrated and after filing charges against him, he turned himself in to the Royal Gendarmerie before it was decided that the pair should marry,” Lahsan al-Filali, Amina’s father was quoted by Moroccan media as saying.
Morocco’s state news agency had published a statement by the Ministry of Justice and Freedom saying that preliminary investigation, which was suspended after the pair’s marriage, showed that Amina was not raped and that she agreed to having sex with the man who later married her.
The ministry also said the pair were in a relationship for more than a year before they married.
The ministry of justice is headed by Mustafa Ramid, a leader of the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party.
“All the legal practices were respected in the case...and the general prosecution suspended the investigation for the best of the minor and in response to her request and the request of her father and the person who married her and according to the law.”
Amina’s parents insist that their daughter was raped and that they submitted to “pressures” to agree to the mariage.
“When the judge said they will marry, I did not agree, but I could not challenge the law. I wanted that man (the rapist) to go to prison,” Amina’s father, told Morocco’s 2M.
“At first I did not agree to this marriage, but when the court of family affairs called me and pressured me, I agreed,” he added.
“After I filed a complaint against him, he said he will marry her. And when he married her and took her to his family’s home he mistreated her, beating her and leaving her starve with no food,” Zahra Mallim, Amina’s mother told the channel.
Traumatized by the painful experience of rape, Amina decided to end her life by consuming rat poison in the house of her husband’s family.
This type of forced marriage is said to be rooted in local rural traditions to safeguard the honor of girls who are raped.
Moroccan penal code exempts a rapist from punishment if he agrees to marry his victim.
Moroccan law stipulates that rape is punishable by five to 10 years in prison -- or between 10 and 20 years if the victim is a minor, which also entails a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams (18-45 euros, $24-60).
If the rapist marries his victim he cannot be pursued legally unless she manages to obtain a divorce.
But under the family code the decision of the judge authorizing such a marriage cannot be reversed.