Eleven of the attackers of a Moroccan teenage girl victim of gang rape and kidnapping were each sentenced to twenty years in prison, said the lawyer for the civil party, Wednesday (September 22).
In a video released in 2018 and which went viral, Khadija Okkarou, 17 at the time, recounted being kidnapped, kidnapped, raped and martyred for two months by young men from her village of Oulad Ayad, near Beni Mellal (center). Her filmed testimony, in which she showed traces of cigarette burns and obscene tattoos that her attackers had according to her forcibly engraved on her body during her confinement, had raised an outcry in the kingdom and sparked a strong mobilization against “culture. rape and impunity ”.
Three years later, the criminal chamber of the Beni Mellal Court of Appeal condemned the thirteen defendants on various charges, including “trafficking in human beings on a minor”, “rape”, “constitution of a gang. organized “and” kidnapping and forcible confinement, “the victim’s lawyer, Ibrahim Hachane, told AFP on Wednesday. Eleven defendants were sentenced to twenty years in prison each and two others were sentenced to two years in prison and one year suspended, he said, adding that the attackers of Khadija Okkarou were also ordered to pay him 200 000 dirhams (approximately 19,000 euros) in damages.
The victim’s lawyer will appeal
“In view of the seriousness of the facts, the verdict seems normal to us, not hard, because the trafficking of human beings in minors is punishable by a sentence of up to thirty years”, assures Me Hachane, who will appeal this judgment at first instance. “The victim is always treated, the consequences of what she experienced will accompany her all her life”, he explained.
The choice of Khadija Okkarou to expose herself publicly is a very rare step in a conservative society which pushes the victims of rape to be silent, for fear of reprisals, of the gaze of others or for the family reputation. Human rights associations and the media regularly sound the alarm bells on the violence suffered by women. A law against violence against women entered into force in 2018. While for the first time it makes certain acts punishable by imprisonment. “Considered to be forms of harassment, assault, sexual exploitation or mistreatment”, the text was deemed insufficient by feminist associations.
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