May 19, 2012
May 19, 2012
A Moroccan court has sentenced a man found guilty of raping two young sisters, between 6 and 8 years old, to three years in prison in a ruling that was slammed by rights groups as too soft.
A security investigation revealed that the man, a husband and father of three, has lured his victims mostly school children to his butcher shop which is located near a public elementary school, according to Moroccan media reports.
The Touche Pas a Mon Enfant (Don’t touch my child) group, which is dedicated to defending the rights of sexually abused children, has slammed the court’s decision as too lenient and called for judiciary responsible for defending children against rape crimes.
The group said in a statement that child rapists should receive the harshest punishments possible, and called for a rally in front of the appeals court in the Atlantic coastal city of El Jadida to protest against the sentence seen as lenient.
In March, the story of a young Moroccan girl, Amina el-Filali, who committed suicide after she was forced to marry her rapist, shocked Morocco and drew wide international condemnations against rape and child abuse.
Rape victims in Morocco have to prove to authorities that they did not participate in consensual sex. They are also stigmatized and given meager social assistance. A convicted rapist can face five to 10 years in prison, but up to 20 if the victim is a minor.
According to a 2009 report by Touche Pas a Mon Enfant, child rape cases declared by the families of the victims in Morocco only make up a tiny percentage of the abuse committed because of the taboos associated with the issue in Morocco.