Algeria Women Hold Protests Over Rape, Murder Of Teenager

Angry citizens in Algeria have taken to the streets to protest the rape and killing of a teenager in Algiers, the North African country’s capital.

The remains of the 19-year-old victim, identified simply as Chaima, were discovered in a deserted petrol station in Thenia, 80 km (50 miles) east of the capital Algiers in October.

The deceased was said to have been raped and then set on fire.

Chaima’s death is the latest in a series of violence against women in Algeria. A group – Femicides Algeria – which tracks such killings, alleged that 38 women have been killed on account of their gender in the country since the start of the year.

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They recorded 60 in 2019, but believe the actual number is far higher as many such killings go unreported.

Chaima’s killer confessed to the crime and is under arrest, local media say.

There are also reports that the charred body of another woman was found in a forest overnight.

Women held sit-in protests in Algiers and Oran, chanting Chaïma’s first name and calling for an end to gender-based violence. Activists also took to social media with the hashtag #JeSuisChaima (I am Chaïma).

Activists say there was a heavy police presence despite the small protests.

“This government offers no shelters or mechanisms to protect the victims from their torturers, this government says it has laws, but in reality women are asked to forgive their aggressor, be it their brother or their father or whatever,” one woman at the rally in Algiers said.

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“Women file a complaint and wait three or four years for it to be resolved and for a judgement to be rendered. These are unacceptable conditions. Algeria is for Algerian men and women.”

Chaïma’s mother said the suspect had attempted to rape her daughter in 2016, when she was 15, but the case was dropped.

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