Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Morocco May Scrap Disputed Rape Law: Justice Ministry

The unjust situation where perpetrators of rape crimes can be excused if they marry their victims, may at last be about to change. The Justice Ministry yesterday released a statement that suggested that a new law may go even further in punishing offenders.

As The View from Fez reported recently, the only female minister, Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui, has been vocal in her calls to change the law. “A rapist belongs to jail and not elsewhere,” she said.

Morocco could scrap a disputed statutory rape law that favours the perpetrator, excusing them from jail if they marry their victim, the justice ministry said on Monday.

The suicide in March 2012 of 16-year-old rape victim Amina Filali, who was forced to marry her aggressor, launched the law into the spotlight and led to intensifying calls for its repeal.

The justice ministry said in its statement that it supported a proposal by parliament to alter article 475 of the penal code, under which the rape of a minor is punishable by several years in prison unless the victim and their aggressor wed.

The proposal has yet to be formally approved by both houses.

The ministry said it was prepared to go even further than scrapping the paragraph on marriage, suggesting harsher punishments for rapists of minors, including up to 30 years in prison rather than the current stipulated five years.

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