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Morocco will remove law that permitted rapists to marry their victims

Change in law came after suicide of 16-year-old who was forced to marry man who raped her, in adherence with Morocco's penal code.

Amina Al Filali protestEnlarge
Women protest outside parlament against the suicide of Amina al-Filali, 16 who was forced to marry the man who raped her. They called for changes to a penal code that allows a rapist to stay out of jail if he marries his victim with the consent of her parents. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Morocco is planning to change a controversial law that absolved rapists if they married their victims — a primitive punishment that likely led to the suicide of a 16-year-old girl forced to marry the older man who raped her in 2012.

In Morocco, rapists can avoid prosecution if they agree to marry their victims, and the court appears to have pushed this solution in the case of teenager Amina Filali.

The Guardian wrote that Morocco will likely change its penal code and remove the law, which appears to have been enacted to prevent "family shame."

Read more from GlobalPost: Protests to change rape law roil Morocco

However, before the law can change, it has to be approved by both houses of the Moroccan parliament, noted the BBC.

"Article 475" was blamed for the death of 16-year-old Filali, who had been married to her rapist for five months when she swallowed a fatal dose of rat poison. The man had allegedly physically abused her during the short marriage, wrote the BBC.

Read more from GlobalPost: Morocco to amend law on rape-marriages after victim (16) commits suicide

Women's rights supporters protested aggressively against the law in 2012, forcing the government to take notice — although a verbal promise in March to change the law appears to have resulted in little formal action until now. 

The Associated Press said Democratic League for Women's Rights president Fouzia Assouli lauded the proposed change to the law, but noted that much more of Morocco's penal code has to be rewritten to prevent violence against women.

Morocco World News recently wrote that "around 82 percent" of Moroccan women are in some way affected by domestic violence.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/morocco/130123/morocco-will-remove-law-permitted-rapists-marry-their-vi