A Moroccan teen committed suicide last month after her family forced her to marry her rapist, rights activists told Al Jazeera after reports of her death surfaced in the North African kingdom’s media on Friday.
The suicide happened amid protracted efforts to repeal a law, Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code, exonerating rapists who marry their victims, after the high-profile suicide last year of another teen, Amina Filali.
In March 2012, 16-year-old Filali killed herself in the northern town of Larache by taking rat poison after she was forced to marry her rapist. Her death provoked several demonstrations and the Twitter hashtag #RIPAmina to demand the repeal of Article 475.
The 16-year-old girl who died last month was from the northern port city of Tetouan and was raped by another minor, according to Abdel Ali El-Allawi, director of the local chapter of the international NGO the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH).
The girl’s family has refused to grant interviews to the press.
“He was put in prison," said Allawi. "The family of the rapist entered negotiations with the family of the victim. They proposed the two get married.
“These are things that are common here in Morocco. When a man rapes a woman or girl, the justice authorities say, you have a choice — you can marry the girl or go to prison.”
According to Article 475, a rapist can avoid a prison sentence by marrying his victim. The law is based on a similar measure in France. Morocco was a protectorate of France until 1956.