Moroccan teen burns herself to death after gang rapists threatened to post photos

by WorldTribune Staff, August 8, 2016

A 17-year-old, who had been gang-raped by eight men, killed herself by setting herself on fire on a Moroccan street after the men threatened to release photos of the attack online.

While the eight suspects were initially arrested, the prosecutor in the case later granted them provisional release.

Fouzia Assouli president of Morocco's Democratic League for Women's Rights during a sit-in protest outside the local court in Larache over Amina al-Filali, 16, who drank rat poison after being forced to marry the man who raped her. /Getty Images
Morocco’s Democratic League for Women’s Rights protest outside the local court in Larache over Amina Filali, 16, who drank rat poison after being forced to marry the man who raped her. /Getty Images

After the eight men were freed, they threatened the victim, saying they would publish images of the rape, taken with mobile phones, unless the charges against them were dropped, according to the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH).

“This is the reason why last Friday [July 29] she set herself on fire” on a street in the central city of Ben Guerir, near Marrakesh, said Omar Arbib, head of AMDH Marrakesh.

The rape occurred when the girl was 16-years-old.

Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code allows the “kidnapper” of a minor to marry his victim to escape prosecution.

The law, which had been used to justify the practice of making a rapist marry his victim to “preserve the honor of the woman’s family,” was repealed in 2014.

The issue gained global attention in 2012 when 16-year-old Amina Filali killed herself by swallowing rat poison after being forced to marry her rapist.

Activists set up a Facebook group called “We are all Amina Filali”. Filali’s father told a Moroccan newspaper after his daughter’s death that she had only confessed to being raped two months after it occurred and the prosecutor had advised his daughter to marry when they reported the crime.

In many societies, including in the Middle East, a woman losing her virginity before marriage is considered a dishonor to her family.

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