Women and human rights activists in Morocco are expressing their sorrow and outrage after a teenage girl committed suicide rather than be forced to marry the man who raped her.
Amina Filali, 16, drank rat poison, following a forced marriage -- under Moroccan law, a rapist can avoid prison by wedding his victim (as a way of “preserving the honor” of the girl’s family).
In many parts of conservative Muslim Morocco, it is unacceptable for a bride not to be a virgin.
Human rights campaigners in the North African nation have started an online petition demanding that Article 475, the clause in Moroccan law that allows for rapists to marry their victims, be immediately revoked.
The [law] is an embarrassment to Morocco's international image of modernity and democracy, Fouzia Assouli, president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, told the BBC.
In Morocco, the law protects public morality but not the individual.”
An activist named Abadila Maaelaynine tweeted: Amina, 16, was triply violated, by her rapist, by tradition and by Article 475 of the Moroccan law.
Human rights advocates are calling for the rapist to be imprisoned.
Conviction of a rape charge leads to a prison sentence of between five and ten years in Morocco, while the rape of a minor increases the penalty up to 20 years.
According to reports, Filali's father was pressured by court officials to force his daughter to marry her rapist rather than seek a prosecution against the man who committed the assault.
The prosecutor advised my daughter to marry, he said: 'Go and make the marriage contract', Lahcen Filali told local media.
A Facebook page called “We are all Amina Filali” has been created to follow the case. The site states: “Many girls have been in this [situation], but it took this tragedy to mobilize popular opinion!... We do not want raped women to be forced to marry their executioner to preserve the family honor, and because the law should be changed, organize a sit-in to demand justice!”
Another activist named Layla Belhami, sarcastically tweeted: “If a girl does not want you, rape her! Key to the marriage provided.”