Fatima Zahra was 15 years old in 2021 when she was raped by six men in Tata, a town in the Souss-Massa-Draâ region. Five of them had been sentenced to one year in prison each for “indecent assault on a minor”.
Their appeal trial is due to open this Wednesday in Agadir and the defendants, for having served and finished their “sentence” at first instance behind bars, will unfortunately appear free. When the judgment was read, people shouted haro over this verdict. It must be said that, faced with a lot of indulgence in front of a balance leaning on the wrong side, the alarm bell on cases of sexual violence against minors had been triggered by Moroccan society on many occasions and calls were made for more severe sanctions.
Since the conclusions of the case of the little girl from Tiflet, NGOs and the media as well as practically all sections of Moroccan society have never ceased to congratulate themselves that the Moroccan justice system has finally put things back in order if one can say so. Also for this bis-repetita trial in a way, we would like Moroccan Justice to remain in this perspective and to be less lenient towards such crimes of rape against minors whatever the gender. .
The young victim was raped by six men in a village near Tata in 2021, resulting in a pregnancy. Following a complaint from the family, “the investigations led to the identification of the main suspect, who was none other than the girl’s coach in a local football team. He was then arrested along with four others who had also raped her”. A sixth accomplice is still running.
In December 2021, the Agadir Court of First Instance sentenced the six defendants to one year in prison each for “indecent assault on a minor”. A “unjust and illogical” verdict, regretted a parent of the victim, saying that his niece, mother of an eight-month-old child, was “in a deplorable state”. The family of the raped minor had denounced the prison sentence, according to her, too lenient, imposed on the six defendants, including one on the run – a father of three children – and called “for justice to be done to him”.
This case is reminiscent of the massive and repeated rape of the girl (11 years old) from Tiflet and the pregnancy that followed which had scandalized public opinion after the verdict at first instance of three defendants (2 years old). We then mobilized to protest against this judgment considered too lenient. On appeal, they were sentenced to 20 years for one and 10 years for the other two, to the great relief of all those who had shouted haro on the verdict.
In this perspective, at the beginning of the week on Monday, the court of first instance of Imintanout, in the province of Chichaoua, sentenced a person accused of indecent assault on a minor child, to eight months in prison and five hundred dirhams. fine. These lenient court rulings sparked new controversy and rekindled “outrage” among human rights activists and citizens, seeing them as amounting to “encouraging the violation of the sanctity of childhood”.