Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Morocco: Morocco Appeals Court Imposes Tougher Jail Terms in Child Rape Case

Three defendants accused of repeatedly raping an 11-year-old Moroccan girl have been sentenced to between 10 and 20 years behind bars on appeal, after lower sentences awarded in a lower court sparked outrage.

The appeals court in Rabat sentenced one man to 20 years in prison and the other two to 10, after a marathon session ending in the early hours of Friday.

The victim was only 11 when she was “repeatedly raped” and became pregnant, giving birth last year.

The legal team of the girl, who is now 12, had appealed after a lower court on 20 March sentenced one of her three alleged attackers to two years in prison, and the others to 18 months each.

The appeals court also ordered the three men, aged between 25 and 37, to pay damages totalling 140,000 dirhams (nearly Ꞓ12,500) instead of the 50,000 dirhams ordered by the lower court.

“We are satisfied with the decision which delivered justice to the victim,” lawyer Abdelfattah Zahrach said.

However, he questioned why two of the accused had received only 10 year sentences and said he was considering a further appeal to the Court of Cassation after consulting the child’s family.

DNA evidence

The public gallery was packed for Thursday’s hearing.

The court heard testimonies from the victim – accompanied by her grandmother and father – and a witness, also a minor.

The latter was heard in private after the prosecution raised protection concerns.