Retrial set for rape-marriage case
A MALAYSIAN rape suspect who married his 14-year-old victim to avoid jail will be brought back to court for a retrial, the accused’s lawyer said.
Ahmad Syukri Yusuf, 22, allegedly raped the girl, now 15, last year in a country where rape charges can incur a sentence of up to 30 years in jail and whipping.
But a court in the state of Sarawak on Borneo island ruled last week it would not proceed with the case after it emerged the accused had married his alleged victim, sparking an outcry by activists and politicians.
“It’s back to square one. The trial will be heard again. It will be difficult for me. It is a retrial,” Ahmad’s lawyer, Azam Trudin, said.
Activists welcomed the fresh hearing which is expected to take place end of September, with some calling for child marriages to be made illegal.
Heang Lee Tan from Women’s Aid Organisation in Malaysia said the retrial would “send the message that rape is a heinous crime, which we will not tolerate in our society”.
“You endorse the violent act [of rape] by allowing that marriage to take place in the first place,” said Meera Samanther of the Association of Women Lawyers in Malaysia.
“We must ban child marriages, especially those involving rape.” –