Court Sentences Young Man in Morocco to Prison after Marrying a Minor

Court Sentences Young Man in Morocco to Prison after Marrying a Minor


The Court in Oujda has sentenced a man to one year in prison and a fine of 500 dirhams after marrying a minor through ‘Zwaj Al-Fatiha’ despite parental consent and the presence of witnesses, as well as holding a wedding ceremony.

The ruling was issued by the Oujda court on April 18, 2023, where the defendant was charged with “deflowering a minor” charges, justifying its decision by stating that “as long as the wife is under 18 years old, she is considered a minor, and the act of not legally documenting the marriage contract is a crime that deserves punishment.”

The court considered that ‘customs cannot override legal texts’ and that even if the minor willingly accepts, “they are physically, mentally, and emotionally immature’, emphasizing the need to protect them from all forms of sexual and emotional violence.

The case dates back to May 25, 2022, when the police in Oujda were alerted of a case where a young woman gave birth in a local hospital without providing a marriage certificate. After hearing from the mother, it was revealed that she got informally married to a young man at the age of 16.

The marriage of the minor girl to the young man was done through the reading of Surah Al-Fatiha, holding a wedding ceremony, which resulted a few months later in the birth of their first child.

After giving birth, the police referred the case to the relevant Public Prosecutor’s Office, which in turn decided to pursue the husband and charge him with “deflowering a minor without the use of violence” charges, according to Article 484 of the Criminal Code.

The court emphasized that “the defendant’s justifications regarding not following the legal procedure for minor marriage cannot override the legal basis that requires such procedures to be respected to protect the rights and interests of minors.”

It is worth reminding that before 2004, the legal age of marriage was 15.

In 2004, Morocco updated its family laws to set the legal marriage age at 18 for both genders. However, the law also allows judges to permit marriages for girls younger than 18 under special circumstances, while boys are strictly not allowed to marry before turning 18.