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Home »» Dialogues

Moroccan-American Women’s Call for Justice: Amina Filali’s Case

By Serhani, Hanafi et al.

An online petition calling for a change to the law has garnered about 3,500 signatures and protests are  held across the country to condemn this  blatant violation of  human  rights. Today, the Moroccan-American Legal Empowerment Network (AMLEN)[1] and other Moroccan-American community activists join our voices to women in Morocco  through this  outcry to bring to justice all those who condemned Amina to her death at 16 years of age.

A child should never have to marry at 16 years.

A child should never have to marry the man who raped her.

Amina Filali’s suicide at the age of 16 is a tragic case of a Moroccan girl forced to marry her rapist whose violence pushed her to death. Amina’s case is a wake-up call about the flawed article 475-2 of the Moroccan Penal code that absolves the aggressor of his crime once he consents to marry his rape victim.

475 of the Moroccan Penal Code states: "Whoever, without violence, threats or fraud, abducts or attempts to remove or divert a minor under eighteen years, is punished by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of 200 to 500 Dirhams. When a nubile minor is removed or diverted marries her captor, the latter may only be prosecuted when a complaint if filed by a person(s) entitled to apply for annulment of marriage and cannot be sentenced until after the annulment of marriage been pronounced.”

When Amina was raped early 2011, the judge called for a mediation instead of a prosecution against the offender. Having no one to turn to, Amina was forced into marrying her rapist who, along with his family, subjected her to beatings and starvation. Rapists like Amina’s are protected by legal immunity and the corrupt honor system that decriminalized them with the blessings of the judge, the legal aids, the police and the religious clerics.



We, Moroccan Women in the US, say No More criminalization of the victim and No More impunity for the criminal. We demand the abolition of the 475 article from the penal code. We demand maximum punishment to the aggressor and complete protection and support for the victim. As committed citizens, we denounce the current unjust law: it encourages violence against women and forced marriages of minors. We call on the legislator to:


·         Increase the terms of detention of rapists from the current 5-10 years to a 10-20 years without parole

·         Ensure clear, easy and speedy filing and processing of the alleged rape claim

·         Guarantee a thorough investigation of the claims with less presumption of consent on the victim and the genuine belief that she is a victim and not an accomplice.

·         We demand revisions in the penal code and an end to the complicity of the police investigators, the legal aids, the Adouls, the judges as well as  access to legal  counsels  who are too expensive to represent the victims or refuse such pro-bono cases, mainly in rural settings. 

Amina’s case highlights women’s inevitable and dramatic descent into despair when they live outside urban centers and beyond access to any legal services for the poor and the marginalized. As citizens, civil society members, parents, and sisters, we ask urgent action be taken to revise the Moroccan penal code that sent Amina to her death.

We owe this to Amina Filali.

Moroccan-American network for legal empowerment and social justice for the Moroccan-American Community

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