Morocco Amends Controversial Rape Law

Rapists can no longer avoid charges by marrying their victims

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Lawmakers in Morocco voted unanimously to amend an article of the penal code so that men who rape underage girls can no longer avoid prosecution by marrying their victims.

The move comes two years after 16-year-old Amini Filali committed suicide following her forced marriage to Moustapha Fellak, about 25 years old, who raped her. She claimed Fellak continued to abuse her, which he denied. Seven months after their marriage, Filali swallowed rat poison.

Her death sparked protests across the country and highlighted the different attitudes toward rape victims in rural and urban communities. One in four women in Morocco is a victim of violence, rights groups say, with the most vulnerable living in the countryside.

In some of the more conservative parts of Morocco, the BBC reports, an unmarried girl or woman who loses her virginity—even if she is raped—is viewed as a dishonor to her family and is no longer able to marry. For some families, marrying the perpetrator can address that problem.

Article 475, which gives a five-year prison term to anyone who “abducts or deceives” a minor “without violence, threat or fraud, or attempts to do so,” was first proposed by the country’s Islamist-led government a year ago. Before it was amended, its second clause stated that the perpetrator, should he marry the victim, “can no longer be prosecuted except by persons empowered to demand the annulment of the marriage and then only after the annulment has been proclaimed.”

Activists praised parliament’s decision to amend the controversial article, but agree there’s a long way to go. “This changes one paragraph in an article when there are a lot of articles that need to be changed,” Stephanie Willman Bordat, a founding partner at Mobilizing for Rights Associates, told the New York Times. “Article 490 still makes it illegal to have sexual relations outside of marriage, which pressures the minor victims of rape and all rape victims, even adults, not to bring charges.”

[BBC News, New York Times]

40 comments
Youcef Ali
Youcef Ali

they totally have some tribal laws inside there as I remember

foodforthought
foodforthought

The allegations are a sham and the idiots that eat it up are even more pathetic than the yellow press that feeds them this cr@p. There has never been any such written "rape law" in Morocco.


Article 475 of Morocco's penal code falls under Chapter 8, Section 4 - which deals with the misrepresentation of minors.


Rape - of minors or otherwise -, and other crimes against morality are dealt with under Chapter 8, Section 6, Articles 483-496.


So let me be clear, article 475 is explicitly intended to deal with cases of non-violentabduction or coercion of a minor (in Morocco that translates to anyone under 18); a crime punishable by 1-5 years imprisonment; due to the French wording, the article can be used in cases of statutory rape ("détournement de mineur"), which, by traditional French definition doesn't necessitate the act of penetration; indeed the article itself was taken, word for word, from France's penal code - article 356 of France's onetime penal code to be exact. The catch in the article which has caused so much controversy, misinformation, misunderstanding and perhaps even misuse of the article itself by Moroccan courts, is the "clause" (a backward reading) that states that if the nubile (minor girl at the age of maturity) is married to her abductor/hijacker no legal action can be taken until their marriage is officially annulled.


This is not a victory for truth or justice
, this is a victory for demagoguery, anti-intellectualism and obscurantism; it's a victory for those sordid "activists" with hidden agendas, it's victory for those who stand against the institute of marriage and a victory for those who support promiscuity in society. Indeed, nothing has been achieved insofar as combating the stigma of rape or any purported malpractice in Moroccan courts; on the other hand the perpetrators of vice and immorality have one less law to worry about; certainly, in the name of "human rights" and "individual liberties", organisations like Amnesty International (who has contributed to the myth of this "rape-law") are working tirelessly for Morocco to decriminalize promiscuity altogether so that, like in Britain,"Most children will be born out of wedlock by 2016"

Abbey Elizabeth
Abbey Elizabeth

Actually it is. Deuteronomy 22 28-29. The Bible also says you can trade women for livestock.

Kassie N Michael Sommer
Kassie N Michael Sommer

"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekelsc of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives." Deuteronomy 22:28 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+22:28-29 This is absurd and can be ignored but the part about gay marriage must be upheld........its all a load of crap. You cant pick and choose what parts you believe that makes you a hypocrite.

McPhee VoniaBlack
McPhee VoniaBlack

Well thats not bad. Now she can kill em& get paid. Til death do us part. Yep. Check that A hole.

Vijay Banga
Vijay Banga

If marriage can solve why not is better any time

Timothy Ovu Zadok
Timothy Ovu Zadok

Its really funny in Morocco that the fastest way to marry a lady is to ambush the said lady, rape the daylight out of her, and carry-go, she is yours for life. Too sad.

CamCam Ca
CamCam Ca

I'm sure he changed. They all do, right?! I think once a rapist always a rapist!!!

Anthony R. Ravenell
Anthony R. Ravenell

Amazing how women in these countries do not stand for themselves and not allow men to get away with this?

Charity Talattad
Charity Talattad

its a human law not God's law,their idea on how to get away with the crime they did!their woman's not safe even the strangers!!!!!what a Head!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so annoying,

Ash Zee
Ash Zee

@ady, GFYS, you filthy pig muzLIMB, go fawk your neighbors goat "moreHAMmud" lover!

Erin Sotkovsky
Erin Sotkovsky

Its fantastic! Made me cry and think about how great and blessed I am in this life. They also made it into a documentary. They send female celebrities to meet and follow the story of a girl in whatever country they go to. Very very heartbreaking what they have to go through.

Lonnie J. Brown
Lonnie J. Brown

Thanks for the title, love to add a good book to my list.

Vadim Shaparenko
Vadim Shaparenko

Not really that staggering. We are not talking about western people here.

Erin Sotkovsky
Erin Sotkovsky

Great step in the right direction! "Half The Sky" is such a fantastic book for those who are interested in learning more about the fight for change for woman's rights overseas.

Ash Zee
Ash Zee

Only took them 5 thousand years to do so, EEEKH muzLIMBS!

foodforthought
foodforthought

How strange to have an Arab (and supporter of Assad's inhumane dictatorship in Syria) opening their foul mouth about such a thing?

Actual rape-marriage laws exist in Youcef's very own Syrian Arab Republic, as well as Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya and Palestine - finding its origins in local custom and the 1911 Ottoman penal code ("Crimes of Honor and the Construction of Gender in Arab Societies", Lama Abu-Odeh)

Rape-marriage laws do not exist, AND NEVER HAVE EXISTED, in Morocco (check my previous comment for details).


Furthermore, amendments to the Mudawana (Morocco's Personal Status Code), as far back as 1993, made it illegal to force a marriage in Morocco. Indeed, the Mudawana has the most advanced Sharia-compliant family law in the Muslim world and Morocco is the most advanced Arabic-speaking country in terms of nomocracy and the democratic process; that (among a million other things) is why the Arabs burn-up in rage and jealousy vis-a-vis Morocco and try to defame our Kingdom by attributing to it the ills that plague their own societies. The dog barks but the caravan moves on!

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Marriage does not solve being raped .

Kah_Dae
Kah_Dae

Sure hope you're not a Christian passing this kind of judgement...this very offense is in the bible. Deuteronomy 22 28-29: "If a man rapes a girl who is not engaged and is caught in the act, he must pay a fine to the girl’s father and marry her; he may never divorce her."

This kind of sickness is woven in Abrahamic religion...