Khadija’s story made headlines both in Morocco and internationally due to the brutal nature of the crime and the victim’s determination to speak up and have her attackers brought to justice.
Rabat – A court in Beni Mellal in Central Morocco has postponed the trial of 12 men accused of gangraping a 17-year-old girl identified in news reports as Khadija. The trial was due to occur today but was postponed to June 25.
According to AFP, the trial was postponed at the “request of both sides.” The twelve accused, aged between 19 and 25, are facing charges that include human trafficking, rape, kidnapping and forming an organized gang. A 13th defendant will be tried separately and privately on June 11 as he was underage when the crimes took place.
The victim’s lawyer, Ibrahim Hachante, told AFP that the suspects had confessed to police but most of them then retracted before a magistrate.
Khadija’s story made headlines both in Morocco and internationally due to the brutal nature of the crime and the 17-year-old victim’s determination for her story to be heard and her attackers be brought to justice.
Khadija came forward in a TV interview on Moroccan station Chouf TV. In that first public appearance, she showed scars, cigarette burns, and tattoos on her body, which she said were inflicted on her by her captors.
“I tried to escape several times, but I was caught and beaten,” she said. “They tortured me, they did not give me food or drink, and they did not even allow me to take a shower.”
“I will never forgive them – they have destroyed me. I want justice to be done and [for them] to pay for what they have done to me,” she bravely told reporters. “ How many women who, for fear of this hchouma [shame], continue to keep quiet?”
Khadija urged other women to “never remain silent” about sexual abuse and harassment. “For each and every girl or woman, I don’t want this to occur again,” Khadija told the Guardian. “I want this to stop and I want the women to be courageous.”