Photo from Mamamia – Protestors in Morocco last March.
A paragraph in Article 475 of the penal code allows those convicted of “corruption” or “kidnapping” of a minor to go free if they marry their victim and the practice was encouraged by judges to spare family shame.
Last March, 16-year-old Amina al-Filali poisoned herself to get out of a seven-month-old abusive marriage to a 23-year-old she said had raped her. Her parents and a judge had pushed the marriage to protect the family’s honor. The incident sparked calls for the law to be changed.
While the marriage age is officially 18, judges routinely approve much younger unions in this deeply traditional country of 32 million with high illiteracy and poverty.
‘Last week, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid indicated that the Moroccan Government will be repealing the law that allows for this abhorrent practice.’ (Mamamia)
“Changing this article is a good thing but it doesn’t meet all of our demands,” the organisation’s president, Khadija Ryadi, told the Associated Press.
“The penal code has to be totally reformed because it contains many provisions that discriminate against women and doesn’t protect women against violence,” she added.
Ms Ryadi noted that the new article proposed by the justice ministry distinguished between “rape resulting in ‘deflowering’ and just plain rape”.
Fouzia Assouli, head of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights, said: “The law doesn’t recognise certain forms of violence against women, such as conjugal rape, while it still penalises other normal behaviour like sex outside of marriage between adults.”