Morocco to change law allowing rape marriage

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RABAT, Morocco — Nearly a year after Morocco was shocked by the suicide of a 16-year-old girl who was forced to marry her alleged rapist, the government has announced plans to change the penal code to outlaw the traditional practice.

Women’s rights activists on Tuesday welcomed Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid’s announcement, but said it was only a first step in reforming a penal code that doesn’t do enough to stop violence against women in this North African kingdom.

“The penal code has to be totally reformed because it contains many provisions that discriminate against women and doesn’t protect women against violence,” said Khadija Ryadi, president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights.

Fouzia Assouli, president of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights, said the current code only penalizes violence against women from a moral standpoint “and not because it is just violence.”

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