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Girl, 17, ‘raped and tattooed’ by Moroccan gang

Thousands of people have voiced support for a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and forcibly tattooed by a group of men in Morocco.

The teenager said she was tortured by members of a “dangerous gang” in Beni Melal province after being abducted outside a relative’s home in June.

Photos shared online showed tattoos, including an image of a swastika, across her arms, legs and neck, and scars which she said were the result of cigarette burns.

“They held me for about two months, and raped and tortured me,” the girl said.

“I will never forgive them. They have destroyed me.”

More than 14,000 people have signed a petition on the change.org website calling for financial support for the girl to remove the tattoos.

The petition organisers said they wanted to express their “indignation and outrage” about the girl’s alleged ordeal.

“During her captivity, she was subjected to every torture imaginable,” they said.

“The perpetrators eventually released her, and now she has to regain her life back.”

The girl’s father said three suspects were arrested on Saturday in connection with her abduction and a trial is due to start on 6 September.

A total of 12 suspects have been detained, according to the Moroccan Association of Human Rights.

Sexual harassment is commonplace in Morocco, despite a new constitution adopted in 2011 that enshrines gender equality and urges the state to promote it.

Last year 1,600 cases of rape were heard by Moroccan courts, twice as many as previous years.

In January 2014, Morocco scrapped a controversial law that allowed child rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

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