A Moroccan court has raised the sentences of four men involved in the rape of a teenage girl in the country’s southern region to four years’ imprisonment, overturning their initial one-year sentences, as confirmed by the prosecution.
The victim, Fatima-Zahra, was 15 years old at the time of the assault, which took place in a village near Tata in 2021, resulting in her pregnancy, as outlined by Aïcha Guellaa, one of her legal representatives.
The Agadir Court of Appeal has now sentenced each of the four defendants to four years in prison for “indecent assault on a minor with violence,” announced Guellaa to AFP, stating her intention to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Initially, in December 2021, they had each received one-year imprisonment sentences. These lenient sentences had drawn criticism from human rights groups.
Aïcha Guellaa, President of the Moroccan Association for Victims’ Rights (AMDV), expressed her dissatisfaction with the verdict, stating, “As a women’s rights activist, I don’t find the verdict satisfactory, but it’s an improvement from the initial sentences.”
This case was widely discussed in Moroccan media, reminiscent of a prior incident where three men convicted of repeated rape of an 11-year-old girl received two-year sentences initially, stirring public outcry due to their perceived leniency. Following civil society’s outcry, one of the accused eventually received a three-year prison term.
NGOs and the media in Morocco consistently highlight cases of sexual violence against minors, advocating for stricter penalties to address such grave offenses.