Morocco amends controversial rape law
Article 475 of Morocco's penal code generated unprecedented public criticism
Morocco’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously amended an article in the penal code that had outraged people by allowing a rapist to escape prosecution if he married his underage victim.
Article 475 of the penal code generated unprecedented public criticism about the case of Amina al-Filali, a 16-year-old girl who was forced to marry a man who allegedly had raped her.
After seven months of marriage to the 23-year-old man, she committed suicide in 2012. Her parents and a judge had forced the marriage to protect the family honor.
The incident sparked calls for the law to be changed.
The traditional practice for forced marriage can be found across the Middle East and in countries such as India and Afghanistan, where the loss of a woman’s virginity out of wedlock puts a huge stain on the honor of the family or tribe.
While the marriage age is officially 18 in Morocco, judges routinely approve much younger unions in this deeply traditional country of 34 million with high illiteracy and poverty.
While Morocco passed a new family code in 2004 that was more progressive concerning women’s rights than in the past, efforts to boost women’s rights have often run afoul of Islamists.
Activists had called for a wholesale revamping of the country’s laws dealing with rape. However, in this case it is just an amendment of the existing article deleting the language allowing the assailant to marry his victim to escape prosecution.
“It is true that this is just a detail compared to all of our demands but it had to be done,” said Nezha Aloui, of the Union for Feminist Work. “I salute the mobilization and maturity parliament showed by voting unanimously.”
Aloui and other activists are pushing for a law outlawing violence against women.
Moroccan government adopts Islamic finance law, seeks vote in parliamentMorocco has been seeking to develop Islamic finance for around two years Banking & Finance
Morocco trial of British pedophile suspect adjournedThe suspect did not show up to the hearing. He’s accused of raping a Moroccan girl and kidnapping two others Middle East
Turkish Airlines plane makes an emergency landing in MoroccoTurkish media said an unclaimed tablet computer had been found in the passenger cabin, sparking the bomb threat procedures Middle East
Morocco to probe Salafist over polygamy rowThe head of the opposition Socialist Union of Popular Forces, Driss Lachgar, called for the polygamy ban several days ago Africa
Beached Morocco oil tanker to be ‘unloaded by Monday’The Moroccan ship was travelling from the Canary Islands when it hit rocks near the Atlantic port of Tan Tan during a storm on Dec. 23 Energy
Morocco arrests Syria linked ‘terrorist cell’Moroccan authorities say the detainees had managed to enter Syria from Turkey Africa