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Morocco: Activists rally outside court as minor's gang rape appeal trial is postponed

Moroccan activists gathered in front of the Agadir Court of Appeal to protest the verdict in the case of the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, on May 31, 2023.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


Protesting to demand that justice be served. Moroccan activists gathered Wednesday (May 31st) in front of the Agadir Court of Appeal to protest the verdict in the case of the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in 2021.

Relatives of the victim were present when the Agadir court of Appeal (southern Morocco) announced it had postponed the long-awaited hearing session at the request of the defense.

The new appeal hearing date is scheduled for July 12.

"We demand justice and the rights of this girl [be safeguarded], we want to know who the father of her baby is, and we want the rapists to get a fair verdict."

Fatima  was raped by six men in 2021 in a village near Tata in Morocco's south-east. The assault resulted in her pregnancy. Her ordeal shocked and touched many compatriots as wall as rights defenders.

"This little girl is 15 years old, and we are worried about her future," Fadma Izourane, women's rights activist said.

"We represent 55 human rights associations who have signed a joint declaration of denunciation, to say that we will continue to mobilise in support of this girl, as today's hearing has been postponed until July."

Local media Morocco World News reported that five defendants were free after having served their sentences in full.

One of the accused is still at large.

Plague of sexual violence against minors

In Morocco, NGOs and the media frequently sound the alarm about cases of sexual violence against minors and call for tougher penalties.

Fatima's case brings to mind the case of a 12-year-old girl.The victim was only 11 when she was "repeatedly raped" and became pregnant, according to rights groups.

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

On April 13, a Rabat Court of Appeal increased the sentences of three men accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.

The new sentences of 20 years for one and 10 years for two defendants. The victim's legal team said it might go to high-instance court.

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