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Morocco: Lawyer welcomes upped jail terms of defendants in child rape case

Abdelfattah Zahrach, lawyer for the victim. The 12-year-old girl was 'repeatedly' raped by three men in her rural village. Her ordeal sparked outrage in Morocco.   -  
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FADEL SENNA/AFP or licensors


The Rabat Court of Appeal on Thursday night (Apr. 13) increased the sentences of three men accused of raping a 11-year old girl.

The three defendants had pleaded not guilty . The new conviction was a relief for the victim's legal team who'd appealed the original judgement.

"We thank the court and the Moroccan justice system for responding to our demand to review the first verdict which shocked everyone," lawyer Abdelfattah Zahrach said.

A lower court initially sentenced one attacker to two years, the two others to 18 months each. 

The new sentences of 20 years for one and 10 years for 2 defendants are still not enough for the victim's legal team. high-instance court

"We are going to appeal to the Court of Cassation after consultation with the victim's family because we do not understand why the two defendants were only sentenced to 10 years in prison, even though they all deserve a heavy punishment given the monstrous nature of the acts committed."

All three faced up to 30 years behind bars.

The victim was only 11 when she was "repeatedly raped" and became pregnant, according to rights groups.

Now aged 12, she came from her rural village with her grandmother and father to attend the hearing. The defendants, faced charges of "misappropriation of a minor" and "indecent assault on a minor with violence".

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