It has taken our elected representatives nearly a year to make up their minds about starting the amendment process for one of our most shameful laws.
This is good news, because its timing was perfect for our legislative clock — one that has accustomed us to crushing social debates, rather than providing answers for them by producing judicial texts. We can't stop expressing our happiness with the amendment of law 475. Recall that a 16-year-old girl — Amina Filali — had to kill herself for the public consciousness to be shocked into discovering the famous clause of the Penal Code: “When an underage girl is kidnapped or deceived into marrying her aggressor, he can no longer be prosecuted except by persons empowered to demand the annulment of the marriage and then only after the annulment has been proclaimed.”
Essentially, a loophole was left for despicable criminals: rapists could choose between the judge or the adoul (public notary in Morocco), and between the golden cage of marriage or the dark cells of Oukacha prison. The families of victims often accept the prospect of throwing their little girls into the arms of their rapists to erase the shame and restore the girls’ decency. From now on, this will not be possible. When rape happens, there will be legal pursuit. The obsessed maniac will be dealt a heavy blow: one to five years in prison for statutory rape, two to five years if he committed the act, and up to 30 years if he “deflowered” the victim.
By amending this law, some progress has been achieved. Yet much remains to be done. For instance, the legislature could recognize and penalize marital rape. It is better than waiting for another Amina Filali tragedy to occur before taking action.