Moroccans mobilise for 'gang-raped' teen

2018-08-27 11:45
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Hundreds of Moroccans have signed a petition urging authorities to provide urgent medical and psychological care to a teenage girl who says she was gang-raped.

Khadija Okkarou, in a video posted online on Tuesday, said she was abducted in mid-June outside the home of a relative in central Morocco by young men alleged to belong to a "dangerous gang".

"They held me for about two months, and raped and tortured me," the 17-year-old said, showing what appeared to be scars from cigarette burns and tattoos carved into parts of her body.

"I will never forgive them. They have destroyed me," she said.

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Her testimony has sparked anger in Morocco with social media users launching the "we are all Khadija" hashtag and a petition urging King Mohammed VI to provide her with medical and psychological care.

More than 3 400 people had signed the petition by Sunday night.

The girl's father, Mohammed Okkarou, said three suspects had been arrested on Saturday in connection with her abduction and that a trial was set to begin on September 6.

Naima Ouahli, of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, told AFP that a total of 12 suspects had been rounded up.

Moroccan authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Sexual harassment is commonplace in Morocco, despite the adoption of a new constitution in 2011 that enshrines gender equality and urges the state to promote it.

And in January 2014, Morocco scrapped a controversial law that allowed child rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

Last year 1 600 cases of rape were heard by Moroccan courts, twice as many as previous years.

Read more on:    king mohammed vi  |  morocco  |  north africa

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