Raped Moroccan teen kills herself in Larache
RABAT - A Moroccan teenager committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, who wed his victim in a bid to beat the system and evade prison, a rights body said on Wednesday.
Amina Al Filali, 16, drank rat poison last week in Larache, near Tangiers in the north, said Fouzia Assouli, president of Morocco's Democratic League for Women's Rights.
The girl's rapist had sought to escape prison by invoking an article of the penal code which he claimed would exonerate him if the rape victim was his wife.
Raped at the age of 15, Filali was forcibly married to her rapist with a judge’s approval. Her family had filed a complaint to the justice in Tangier before finding an agreement with the family of the rapist.
Under Moroccan law, a rapist is exempted from punishment if he marries his victim.
Assouli deplored that the relevant article proclaims to defend family values, "but does not uphold the rights of women".
Under Moroccan law, rape is punishable by five to 10 years in prison, rising to between 10 and 20 years if the victim is a minor.
In some societies, including in the Arab world, the loss of a woman's virginity outside of marriage is considered a dishonour to her family, and arrangements are often made for rape victims to marry their attackers.
Proposed constitutional reforms in Morocco include moves to boost women's rights.
A government study last year found that about a quarter of Moroccan women have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives.