The story of the repeated rape of an 11-year-old child in Tifelt by three individuals has devastated Moroccan public opinion. A sit-in took place this Wednesday, April 5 in front of the Palace of Justice in Rabat, to denounce the judgment pronounced against the criminals who committed this heinous act. Once again, civil society called for justice for children and women and urgent reform of the Penal Code, which prevents them from fully enjoying their rights.
To recall the facts, S., who lives in a Douar near Tifelt, was raped several times when she was 11 by three individuals from her neighborhood. One day, one of the rapists, married and father of three children, discovers that the little one is pregnant. When the news spreads to the village, the authorities come in line, and the criminals are arrested. Except that they did not receive the judgment intended for pedophiles.
A medical report identified the father among the rapists. The latter was sentenced to two years in prison, while the other two 18 months, and 6 months suspended, and had to pay the child respectively 20,000 Dh, and 30,000 Dh. A judgment that associations and activists who fight for the protection of children have denounced verbally.
Rhizlaine Benachir, founding member of Jossour Forum of Moroccan Women, who participated this Wednesday in the sit-in organized in front of the Palace of Justice by the Spring of Dignity Coalition, estimated that today we are facing a criminal act.
” We find that the judgment rendered is scandalous. For what ? Because they took into consideration the social situation of these three individuals, that is to say that they live in precarious conditions, so we are tolerant with them, we understand their situation, and at the same time because they have no criminal record. So we took those mitigating circumstances into consideration. But, they also did not take the aggravation of the act itself which is stipulated in the law. The law provides that when there is a criminal act of this kind which is serious, there is no mitigating circumstance“, she lamented in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews UK.
Not knowing under what conditions this judgment was rendered, and what are the reasons that were able to tolerate these mitigating circumstances, the activist underlined “ that we are not dealing with a theft of goods (…) There, we ruined the life of an 11-year-old girl, her child too, so two children, not to mention that there is a third little one -11-year-old girl who was a witness. So who knows if this little girl didn’t suffer from a sex crime herself?“, she raised.
” It is considered today that the judiciary is bound, is obliged, as stipulated by the Constitution, to apply the laws which are, in this case, from 10 to 30 years in prison. Why didn’t we apply it?“, asks the activist.
To this end, Rhizlaine Benachir called on the judiciary to ensure the exact application of the laws that already exist, that there be a review of this judgment, and that the aggressors be condemned according to the law.
” The judges, if there has been a fault, must be severely sanctioned, because the law has not been applied. We must stop impunity“, she suggested, calling on the state to take care of this child.
” The Ministry of Solidarity, which is conspicuous by its absence, Law 103.13 provides for reception centers and the care of these children. The Inssaf association takes care of this child, that’s very good, but civil society cannot play the role of the State, it is the State that must take care of this child and the baby. Today, we are here to show our anger and hope that tomorrow, during the appeal judgment, there will be a review of the verdict, and that justice will finally be done in this country.“, she concluded.