The Moroccan government earlier this week, announced plans to change a law that allows rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victim if she is underage. On Monday, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid announced that the ministry of justice supported a proposal to change the outdated law and to consider tougher sentences for rapists.

The current law, Article 475, makes it a criminal offense to “abduct or deceive” anyone under the age of 18 into sexual acts against their will and makes these offenses punishable by up to 5 years in prison, so long as the offenses are committed without violence. Article 475 also currently provides that a rapist cannot be prosecuted if they marry their victim. In some cases, a rape victims are forced to marry their attackers by their families in order to protect the family’s honor.

Khadija Ryadi, president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, told reporters “Changing this article is a good thing but it doesn’t meet all of our demands. …The penal code has to be totally reformed because it contains many provisions that discriminate against women and doesn’t protect women against violence.”

Morocco’s Article 475 came under international scrutiny in 2012, when a 16 year old girl committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, who was almost a decade older than her.

Media Resources: BBC 1/23/2013; Huffington Post 1/23/2013; International Business Times 1/23/2013

Shape 3d of Morocco flag from Shutterstock

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