Morocco: Parliament Repeals Provision That Protected Rapists
Thursday, February 06, 2014 9:25 AM
Morocco’s parliament unanimously repealed a provision that enabled any man accused of raping an underage girl to avoid prosecution if he married his victim. The repeal comes in the wake of the 2012 suicide of a 16-year-old girl after she was forced to marry her rapist. The girl's death fueled media attention and significant advocacy calling for an end to the traditional practice of pressuring a young rape victim to preserve her family’s honor by marrying the man who raped her.
The repealed provision, Article 475 of the country’s criminal code, stated there are no grounds for prosecution against a person who abducted or seduced a minor girl who has reached puberty, if the girl marries the person who abducted or seduced her.
Human rights activists praised the parliament's action but noted that many more steps are needed in order to combat violence against women and girls and promote gender equality in Morocco. Specific actions urged by activists include the adoption of legislation addressing gender-based violence. A bill proposed by the Moroccan government, imposing prison sentences of up to 25 years for perpetrators of violence against women, is in the drafting stage.