The Rabat Court of Appeal heard the 12-year-old girl behind closed doors, who was repeatedly raped by three men in Tiflet at the age of 11 at the time of the incident. These latter (aged 25, 32 and 37) whose convictions at first instance to sentences deemed too lenient (from 18 months to 2 years) had provoked a general outcry in the Kingdom, were also heard by the Court of Appeal of Rabat.
Today’s session will have lasted more than six hours and it allowed to hear the child witness present during the rape (parent of one of the accused) as well as the defense of little Sana. The lawyers and human rights organizations who are pleading in this case did not hide their anger at the closed session decided by the Court, considering that the case had become a “problem of opinion and public notoriety”.
In this context, Me Abdelfattah Zahrach, the victim’s lawyer, in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews, said that ” the Public Prosecutor has submitted a request for confidentiality of the hearing regarding the hearing of the child, in consideration of the best interests of the child”.
However, he lamented, this should have been done only during the victim interview phase, while making the rest of the proceedings public. “We have instead asked that the media be allowed to report on the trial in this case because of its ugliness and ugliness, while preserving the presumption of innocence and the conditions for a fair trial.. Me Zahrach added that “a motion for readjustment was also submitted as part of the follow-up with a maximum sentence of 20 years due to the gravity of the acts and the sordidness of the crime“.
For his part, Me Abdelhak Halhouli, lawyer for the accused, declared: “ We have to wait for what the justice will say in this case, not only on appeal, but even during the cassation. (…). We hope that the follow-up that will be given to this file is logical and in line with reality. The lawyer for the mis en cause defended the innocence of his clients by stating: “We appealed the verdict, given that the defendants denied the charges against them, whether before the judicial police, the investigating judge or the court of first instance (TPI)”.
He will, however, add “except for one case, which is a strong presumption for the person who caused the pregnancy, in this case there is much to be said, whether from a legal or jurisprudential point of view”. Me Halhouli estimated “that it was premature to speak of innocence or guilt before a final decision was made. Any prior comment is a specific and characterized obstruction of the judicial process and affects the independence of the judiciary”.