Moroccan woman commits suicide after being forced to marry her rapist
A Minister for Women and Families in Morocco’s Islamist government, by the name of Bassima Hakkaoui, called for a reform to the penal code that forced Amina Filali,16, into a marriage with her rapist where she then committed suicide.
Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison last week.
Since her death, activists in Morocco have been urging for the law to be changed. AFP reported that about 300 protesters, organized by Morocco’s Democratic League for Women’s Rights, formed a sit-in outside the court on Thursday that had previously approved the marriage.
The law is said to justify traditional practices which allow a rapist to marry their victim in order to uphold honour in the family.
“The article 475 is an embarrassment to Morocco’s international image of modernity and democracy,” President of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights, Fouzia Assouli told BBC.
Women’s rights groups condemn the law saying that it does not support the rights of women.
“We have to reform the criminal code to adapt to the new constitution, which forbids violence against women and ensures the equality of the sexes,” Hakkaoui’s predecessor, Nouzha Skalli said.
Morocco’s law states that the legal age to marry is 18, unless there are special circumstances. Despite being under-aged, Ms. Filali’s marriage was a case involving special circumstances. BBC New’s noted that a judge can only legally allow an under-aged marriage to happen if all parties agree to it. However, activists said that victim’s families are usually under pressure to comply in order to avoid a scandal.
Protests are scheduled to take place on Saturday and an online petition asking for the law to be changed has roused anger towards the affairs.