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Girl sexually assaulted on a bus : The potential legal charges against the six arrested minors

The six minors who allegedly assaulted a girl in a bus in Casablanca, were arrested on Monday by local authorities. According to Moulay Mostafa Errachdi, a lawyer and member of «Touche pas a mon enfant» association (Hands off my child), these teenagers «will probably be prosecuted based on articles 485, 486, 487 and 488 from the penal code» and they may face a 30-year sentence. 

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The General Directorate for National Security (DGSN) announced yesterday the arrest of six minors aged between 15 and 17 for sexually assaulting a mentally-challenged girl on a bus in Casablanca. In fact, on Monday a video showing a bunch of teenagers molesting a young girl has gone viral over the Internet. The story behind the video has made it to headlines since then. 

The question here is what is awaiting these young men ? We asked today Moulay Mostafa Errachdi, a lawyer and member of «Touche pas a mon enfant» association, the same question. For him «these minors will be prosecuted for sexual assault». «They must appear before the Criminal Court of Appeal in Casablanca and will probably be prosecuted based on the following articles : 485, 487, 486 and 488 from the penal code», he explained. 

«These sentences can reach up to 30 years of imprisonment, even if they are minors. It is not only a matter of sexually assaulting a young Moroccan woman, but also of having filmed the act».

«Exemplary» penalties must be imposed

Moulay Mostafa Errachdi also explains that the person who shared the video «must also be prosecuted». «Same for the bus driver, since the bus is also a public place», he continued. The lawyer argued that an investigation should be opened «to determine why this teenager was assaulted on a bus while there is a driver, that would have reacted to the incident». He insisted on the need of imposing «exemplary penalties to prevent such incidents from happening again». 

Errachdi argued that these young people «might not be detained at the Juvenile Reform Center, but rather in the juvenile quarters at Oukacha prison». «It depends on the charges against them as this is a crime», he said. «These minors have reached the age of criminal responsibility, which refers to the age when a young person can be prosecuted as an adult, and in Morocco that age is 15 years old». 

Will they receive support and counseling aimed at social reintegration? The lawyer did not give a precise answer. «I think it also depends on the decision of the judiciary authorities and the prison administration,» he concludes.

For the record, after the published video became viral within a few hours, the company in charge of public transportation in Casablanca, M'dina Bus quickly reacted, stating that «a crisis unit was immediately set up to determine the circumstances of the incident». It also said in a communiqué that an internal investigation had also been opened to «match the records of the video with those of the cameras installed on the buses», in coordination with the local authorities of Casablanca.