Amid a national rise in high-profile pedophilia cases, police in Zeghanghane, a town in Morocco’s eastern Nador province, arrested on Thursday a man who allegedly posed as a plastic surgeon to lure children. 

The mother of a 13-year-old boy filed a complaint against the suspect, accusing him of posing as a doctor on social media. 

The 32-year-old defendant, according to the complainant, convinced the boy to let him perform reconstructive surgery on his nose. 

The complainant believes the suspect intended to sexually assault her son, according to the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).  

Upon receiving the complaint, security services determined that the man was falsely claiming to be a plastic surgeon. 

Zeghanghane police arrested the man on charges of attempting to lure a minor via social networks, attempted indecent assault, and usurpation of a function governed by law.

The defendant is in police custody. He remains at the disposal of the preliminary investigation under the supervision of the competent prosecutor’s office in order to clarify the details of the case and identify his potential crimes. 

Read also: Morocco Detains Quran Teacher for Sexual Assault of 6 Minors in Fahs-Anjra

Cases of pedophilia and crimes against children in Morocco have recently come under public scrutiny, reigniting a debate over what constitutes a suitable punishment for child abusers. 

On September 11, police in Tangier discovered the remains of Adnane Bouchouf, an 11-year-old boy who went missing earlier that week. A 24-year-old neighbor kidnapped the boy, raped him, killed him, and buried his remains in a garden near his house. 

The case sparked a national outcry, with King Mohammed VI sending his condolences to the victim’s family. 

Thousands of Moroccans called on the government to sentence Adnane’s killer to death. Article 474 of Morocco’s penal code stipulates that the kidnapping of a minor is punishable with the death penalty if the victim dies.

Morocco put a moratorium on its death penalty in 1993. However, the First Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Tangier handed down the death sentence in a different case this week. 

The court prosecuted the father and stepmother of a 7-year-old boy on charges of premeditated murder, brutality, and corpse abuse, according to Articles 392 and 399 of Morocco’s penal code. Police arrested the couple, who killed the boy and dismembered his body, in November 2019. 

Read also: Morocco’s Outrage: Mothers of Serial Rape Victims Demand Justice

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