Veiled women take part in a demonstration called by the
Calls for a change to Morocco's rape law are part of a wider reform movement (Reuters)

A 16-year-old Moroccan girl has committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist.

The victim, known only as Amina, reportedly killed herself by swallowing rat poison in her hometown of Larache in northern Morocco. The suicide came a year after she was reportedly raped by a 25-year-old man. Her family allegedly agreed with a civil court ruling that she should marry her rapist to preserve their honour.

The practice, which is still common in some parts of the Arab world, is reinforced by a Moroccan law that allows anyone who abuses a female minor to receive immunity from criminal charges if they marry the girl.

Women's rights group in Morocco including the Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms have repeatedly lobbied against the law known as Article 475.

Blogger and Middle East analyst Nervana Mahmoud wrote on Twitter: "#previoustweet what is even more sickening, how they think the rapist is doing the girl a favour by marrying her! #RIPAmina."

The Saudi-based television station Al Arabiya initially reported that Amina's parents filed charges against their daughter's rapist, but a judge in Tangier ruled in favour of marriage rather than punishing him, despite Moroccan laws forbidding forced marriage.

"From what I have read in Moroccan family law, a woman cannot be forced into marriage," Egyptian Baseem Sabry said on Twitter. "Thus, more likely, the family judge recommended marriage as a solution and Amina's parents forced her to accept. A tragedy."

Many Twitter users urged Moroccans to sign a petition calling for the abolition of the law exempting rapists from punishment if they marry their victim.

Amina Filali: Moroccan Rape Victim Suicide Father Blames Judge