The family of the 16-year-old Moroccan girl who killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist has hit out at the judge who made the order.
Amina Filali, 16, from the Moroccan city of Larache, killed herself in 2012 after being forced to marry her rapist.
The rapist was allowed to escape prosecution by marrying his victim under a controversial law which was repealed in 2014 after a campaign by human rights groups.
Amina Filali reportedly killed herself by swallowing rat poison in her hometown of Larache in northern Morocco a year after she was raped by a 25-year-old man.
Her father has denied initial reports that her family agreed with a civil court ruling that she should marry her rapist to preserve the family honour.
As international condemnation mounts, fresh information has been revealed about the girl’s ordeal. After she poisoned herself, she was dragged by her husband – the rapist – to her parents’ house. He continually beat her en route.
After her death, her father, Lahcen Filali, blamed the prosecutor for his daughter’s forced marriage.
“The prosecutor advised my daughter to marry,” he told local newspapers. “‘Go and make the marriage,’ he said.”
The practice, still common in some parts of the Arab world, is reinforced by a Moroccan law that allows anyone who abuses a female minor to receive immunity from criminal charges if they marry the girl.
Instead of jailing the rapist, the judge pushed marriage on Amina under Article 475 of a Moroccan law.
Women’s rights group in Morocco including the Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms have repeatedly lobbied against the law.
“It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon,” said Fouzia Assouli, president of the Democratic League of Women’s Rights. “We have been asking for years for the cancellation of the penal code which allows the rapist to escape justice.”
The Moroccan minister of justice revealed that 41,098 marriages in 2010 involved female minors, which constitutes an increase of 23.59 percent comparing to the year before.
“Those figures are an insult for our country,” said Assouli. “The marriages of minors are a violation of the children’s universal rights.”
The Moroccan family code, adopted in 2004, should protect children from marriage. “The right to get married is acquired by men and women from 18 year old who enjoy full mental capacities,” reads Article 19 of the code.
However, according to Article 20 of the same law minors can be married if the judge issues a special licence after hearings with the parents.
Moroccan activists are flocking on Twitter to protest against the judge and demand an end to Article 475.
“Amina was triply violated, by her rapist, by tradition and by Article 475 of the Moroccan law,” tweeted activist Abadila Maaelaynine.
“We need to protest until the judge who allowed/ruled 4 minor 2 marry her rapist in Morocco goes to jail. #RIPAmina”
tweeted another activist, Zineb Belmkaddem .