Angry Moroccans are demanding a change to the country's strict Islamic penal code after a 16-year-old girl killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist.
An online petition, a Facebook page and countless tweets expressed horror over the suicide of Amina Filali, who swallowed rat poison on Saturday in protest at her marriage to the man who raped her a year earlier.
Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code allows for the 'kidnapper' of a minor to marry his victim to escape prosecution, and it has been used to justify a traditional practice of making a rapist marry his victim to preserve the honour of the woman's family.
'Amina, 16, was triply violated, by her rapist, by tradition and by Article 475 of the Moroccan law,' tweeted activist Abadila Maaelaynine.
Abdelaziz Nouaydi, who runs the Adala Assocation for legal reform, said a judge can recommend marriage only in the case of agreement by the victim and both families.
'It is not something that happens a great deal - it is very rare,' he said, but admitted that the family of the victim sometimes agrees out of fear that she won't be able to find a husband if it is known she was raped
The victim's father said in an interview with an online Moroccan newspaper that it was the court officials who suggested from the beginning the marriage option when they reported the rape.
'The prosecutor advised my daughter to marry, he said 'go and make the marriage contract'," said Lahcen Filali in an interview that appeared on goud.ma Tuesday night.
In many parts of the Middle East, there is a tradition whereby a rapist can escape prosecution if he marries his victim, thereby restoring her honour. There is a similar injunction in the Old Testament's Book of Deuteronomy.
Morocco updated its family code in 2004 in a landmark improvement of the situation of women, but activists say there's still room for improvement.
In cases of rape, the burden of proof is often on the victim and if she can't prove she was attacked, a woman risks being prosecuted for debauchery.
According to the father's interview, the girl was accosted on the street and raped when she was 15, but it was two months before she told her parents.
He said the court pushed the marriage, even though the perpetrator initially refused. He only consented when faced with prosecution.
The penalty for rape is between five and 10 years in prison, but rises to 10 to 20 in the case of a minor.
He said Amina complained to her mother that her husband was beating her repeatedly
during the five months of marriage but that her mother counselled patience.