By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, March 23, 2012
According to the daily al Massae, Amina Filiali’s father declared that his daughter did not commit suicide, but was murdered by her in-laws. He made this bold statement during a conference organized by the civil association” Touch Not My Child” yesterday In Rabat.
Zahra Moualim the victim’s mother gave a live portrayal of her daughter’s ordeal. In fact, the rapist husband refused to support his underage wife. Instead, the mother had to cater for her daughter‘s needs in terms of food and clothing. Concerned with her family’s honor, the mother kept these facts in total secrecy, especially from Amina’s father.
The victims’ parents shared with the audience the family agony subsequent to their daughter’s rape. In addition to their affliction, they had to wrestle with medical services that were reluctant to deliver a medical certificate, an evidence for the sexual assault. Let alone their strenuous trips back and forth from Larache to Tangiers courts.
Talking to Al Massae, Najat Anwar, president of the Moroccan association “Touch Not my Child” urged Moroccans to rebel against this form of rape warranted by the article 20 of the Moroccan family code. In fact, the Moroccan law allows the rapist to marry his underage victim after a medical and social expertise is conducted. This kind of settlement is often solicited by the victim’s family especially in conservative milieu and rural areas. Many activists consider that this kind of agreement is a form of pedophilia rendered legal by the family code provisions. Ms. Anwar was reluctant to utter any comment on the minister of justice statement. Nevertheless, she expressed her commitment to collaborate with the government in order to amend the flawed arsenal of laws that impinge on children’s rights. Ms. Anwar made the solemn pledge to restore justice for Amina through legal procedures.
The association “Touch Not my Child” attorney, Mr. Rachid Ait Belarbi considered that Mr. Ramid’s announcement was out the record, since the case is still being examined by the judiciary. He considered that the minister is deflecting the public opinion attention from the inadequacy of the article 20, which entrusts the judge with large discretionary prerogatives.
On the other hand, he urged the minister in charge of family, development and solidarity and the legislative body to amend the articles that allow the underage girls’ marriage. On the other hand, he requested the minister of justice to hasten investigations in Amina’s death ,especially after the emergence of the murder hypothesis.
The suicide last Saturday of Amina al-Filali, who drank a lethal amount of rat poison, sent shockwaves through Morocco and sparked widespread calls for reform of a law that ostensibly defends family values.
Families of rape victims who are under 18 often agree to such a union, because the loss of a woman’s virginity outside of marriage is considered a dishonor to her family.
It is of note that the underrepresentation of women in the government has earned the executive branch the wrath of social activists. Seemingly, the PJD-led coalition government, still in the probation period, is urged to provide more evidence of its alacrity to enforce the new constitution, especially with priceless opportunity it is offered to break the wall of mistrust between the ministers and feminist activists.
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