In a viral video posted online in the summer of 2018, Khadija Okkarou, 17 at the time, had recounted having been 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 shows traces of cigarette burns and obscene tattoos that her attackers, allegedly, forcibly engraved on her body during her confinement, had raised an outcry in the kingdom and sparked a strong reaction against “ the culture of rape and impunity ”.
Three years later, the criminal chamber of the Beni Mellal Court of Appeal convicted the 13 defendants on various charges, ranging from “human trafficking on a minor”, “rape”, “constitution of an organized gang ”and“ kidnapping ”, the victim’s lawyer Ibrahim Hachane told AFP on Wednesday.
Eleven were sentenced to 20 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 200,000. dirhams as damages.
“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 30 years”, according to Mr. Hachane who will appeal against this judgment in the first instance. “ The victim is still being treated, the after-effects of what she has experienced will accompany her throughout her life,” he explained.
While law 103-13 convicting violence against women, which entered into force in 2018, makes for the first time punishable by prison sentences acts “considered as forms of harassment, assault, sexual exploitation or ill-treatment ”, the ruling was deemed insufficient by feminist associations.