Moroccan judge holds first hearing in case of captive girl

The courthouse of Beni Mellal, Morocco is pictured, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Moroccan judge holds first hearing in case of captive girl

  • A 17-year-old Moroccan girl was allegedly held captive, forcibly tattooed, tortured and gang-raped
  • The case sparked a public outcry in a nation where violence against women is widespread but largely ignored

BENI MELLAL: Family members of a dozen young men suspected in the gang-rape, forcible tattooing and torture of a 17-year-old Moroccan girl allegedly held captive for two months have made a raucous noise outside the courtroom where an investigative judge held his first hearing in the case.
The girl, identified only as Khadija and dressed in black, with black gloves covering hand tattoos, sat quietly before being summoned on Thursday into the first hearing in the case, behind closed doors.
Twelve suspects were detained after Khadija was freed in mid-August. The case sparked a public outcry in a nation where violence against women is widespread but largely ignored.
About 20 family members of the suspects, some holding pictures of King Mohammed VI, harassed Khadija’s lawyer. The sister of one suspect collapsed outside the courthouse.


Iran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi Arabia

Updated 54 min 2 sec ago
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Iran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi Arabia

TEHRAN: An Iranian media outlet close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) published a video on Tuesday threatening the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE with missile attacks.
The video tweeted and later deleted by the semi-official Fars news agency comes as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz on Saturday.
The video shows file footage of previous ballistic missile attacks launched by the Guard, then a graphic of a sniper rifle scope homing in on Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The video also threatened Israel.
"The era of the hit-and-run has expired," Khamenei's voice is heard in the video, the segment taken from an April speech by the supreme leader. "A heavy punishment is underway."
Iran has fired its ballistic missiles twice in anger in recent years. In 2017, responding to an Daesh attack on Tehran, the IRGC fired missiles striking targets in Syria. Then, earlier this month, it launched a strike on a meeting of Iranian Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.
The IRGC, a paramilitary force answerable only to Khamenei, has sole control over Iran's ballistic missile program.
Under Khamenei's orders, Iran now limits its ballistic missiles to a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), which gives Tehran the range to strike Israel, Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as regional American military bases.
Saturday's attack targeted one of many parades in Iran marking the start of the country's long 1980s war with Iraq, part of a commemoration known as "Sacred Defense Week." Militants disguised as soldiers opened fire as rows of troops marched past officials in Ahvaz.
Arab separatists in the region claimed the attack and Iranian officials have blamed them for the assault. The separatists accuse Iran's government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority. Iran's Khuzestan province, where Ahvaz is the provincial capital, also has seen recent protests over Iran's nationwide drought, as well as economic protests.
Daesh also claimed Saturday's attack, initially offering incorrect information about it and later publishing a video of three men it identified as the attackers. The men in the video, however, did not pledge allegiance or otherwise identify themselves as Daesh followers.
Iranian state TV reported that authorities have detained 22 people linked to the group behind the attack and confiscated ammunition and communication equipment. Fars also reported that five militants took part in the assault, all of whom were killed. It said two of them were brothers and another one was their cousin.
On Monday, the IRGC's acting commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, vowed revenge against the perpetrators and what he called the "triangle" of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.
"You are responsible for these actions; you will face the repercussions," the general said. "We warn all of those behind the story, we will take revenge."
Khamenei said Monday that the attack showed Iran has "a lot of enemies." He linked the attackers to the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
"Definitely, we will harshly punish the operatives" behind the terror attack, he said.