A Moroccan court has handed down increased jail sentences to three men convicted of “indecent assault” for the repeated rape of an 11-year-old girl, a case that caused widespread public outrage.
The appeals court in Rabat issued a verdict early Friday, sentencing one man to 20 years in prison and the other two to 10 years each. This comes after a lower court had initially sentenced one of the attackers to two years in prison and the others to 18 months each, which had sparked an appeal by the victim’s lawyers.
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The appeal court also ordered the three men to pay damages totaling 140,000 dirhams (nearly $14,000), an increase from the 50,000 dirhams ordered by the lower court. Lawyer Abdelfattah Zahrach, representing the victim, expressed satisfaction with the decision, stating that justice had been served for the victim.
However, he also expressed concern over the lesser sentences given to two of the accused, and mentioned the possibility of further appeal to the Court of Cassation after consulting with the victim’s family.
During the court proceedings, testimonies from the victim and a witness, who is also a minor, were heard in private, as requested by the prosecution citing child protection concerns. The public gallery was filled during the hearing, which continued into the early hours of Friday. The victim, accompanied by her grandmother and father, appeared frail and silent.
The defendants were charged with “misappropriation of a minor” and “indecent assault on a minor with violence,” the same charges as in the original trial.