The Ikram case is one of several files that recently made national headlines, bringing to light the issue of pedophilia in the country.
Rabat – Moroccans launched a petition to express anger against the decision of a court to hand a provisional release to a man accused of raping a six-year-old girl named Ikram in the Tata province.
More than 45,076 signatories signed the petition on Change.org.
The circumstances of the case, which dates back to June 4, seem complicated as the petition said that a Moroccan court released the suspect on bail after the victim’s father withdrew his complaint.
“We demand justice for Ikram,” the petition says.
The petition tagged the Agadir court and the Ministry of Justice, calling for a solution to the case that recently caused an uproar on social media.
The condemnatory document indicates that the man who raped Ikram is in his 30’s while other reports said he is 40.
The man is allegedly a neighbor of the girl’s family.
Viral videos on social media show groups of protesters demonstrating in the Tata province on Tuesday to call for justice for Ikram.
Protesters are holding several banners, including one that reads: “Coronavirus is fatal, but child abuse is more deadly.”
In addition to the petition, hashtags like #justiceforikram #we_are_all_ikram are trending in Morocco with thousands of tweets condemning the court’s decision and the father’s alleged move to withdraw the complaint.
Activist and feminist Bouchra Abdou told Morocco World News that her Tahadi Center association is always ready to stand up against such violent secual assaults.
“We call for a severe publishement for the suspect and we reject his provisional release,” Abdou said.
The president of the association said that she does not have information about the topic beyond what has been published in news reports.
“The lawyer of the association will collect all information to follow up the case,” she said.
Tahadi Center also called on the public prosecutor to bring legal action against the father if he “really withdrew the complaint.”
Lawyer Hafida Makssaoui told Morocco World News that the law does not criminalize the decision of a complainant to withdraw from a case.
Should the case become a public case, investigators would need to determine the involvement of the suspect in the case.
Several pedophilia cases made national headlines recently.
A Kuwaiti man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in Marrakech fled Morocco to avoid a court sentence in February. A court had ordered his provisional release earlier this year. Activists condemned the court’s decision.
In May, Moroccan police arrested a pediatrician suspected of raping and exploiting minors in the city of Temara, 14.9 kilometers from Rabat.
The arrest took place after police received complaints from the parents of two minors.
Articles 486 and 488 of Morocco’s Criminal Code state that rape or attempted rape of children under the age of 18 is punishable with 10 to 20 years in prison.