Thousands of Moroccans Sign Petition to Overturn Light Prison Sentence for Three Child Rapists

A petition with thousands of signatures from Moroccan civilians criticizes the lenient prison terms given to three defendants who were charged with raping an 11-year-old girl in the town of Tiflet in northwest Morocco.

Yassmine Chami, a Moroccan author, started the petition and called the punishment a “despicable” decision.

The petition states that the petitioners are “outraged by the terrible ruling, which convicts criminals who raped one of our eleven-year-old children to merely two years in prison.”

The appeal stated that the raped woman gave birth to her first child at the young age of twelve after experiencing continuous rape and sexual assault.

The petition also demanded the reconsideration of the case in order to change the punishment imposed on the offenders, as well as the creation of an observatory or independent system to report any flaws discovered during cases involving violence against women and children.

The petition expresses outrage and growing concerns over the low punishment imposed by the criminal division of the Rabat Appeals Court, which on March 20 sentenced three males involved in repeated rape against a juvenile to two years in prison.

At the time of writing, the petition had gathered more than 11,000 signatures.

The lenient punishment was criticized by citizens, activists, and organizations as “unfair.”

According to the Moroccan organization Jossour Forum for Moroccan Women, the victim was given an unfair verdict.

Soumaya Naamane Guessour, a sociologist and university lecturer, wrote an open letter to Minister of Justice Abdellatif Ouahbi last week to protest the “unbearable leniency of the punishment.”

The court’s “incomprehensible normalization” of a culture of rape and impunity was also denounced by the sociologist.
Commenting on the decision, Ouahbi expressed his disbelief.

According to Ouahbi, who was mentioned in local media, “The rape case of the child struck us all and made us wonder, as a society, whatever steps should we reinforce and adopt, on a statutory, intellectual, and educational level, to safeguard children from rape.”

Despite the complaints and commotion, the court hasn’t made any statements or decided to change the ruling.
In order to protest the low sentence, the Moroccan organization Spring of Dignity scheduled a sit-in on Wednesday, April 5.
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