MONTREAL—On Friday a Moroccan man pleaded guilty to torturing his wife for two months at the Montreal court house, he admitted that the assaults began after he heard a rumour that she wasn’t a virgin when they married.

The two fell in love very young, even though they were first cousins. The whole family was happy with the union and the couple moved to Canada in the last decade. They had children and everything went well until the two took a trip to see their family in Morocco.

Once back in North Africa, the husband—who can't be named to protect his children—found out from neighbours that his wife was perhaps not a virgin when they married. The furious husband returned to Montreal and for a period of two months, beat and tortured his wife, on a regular basis, urging her to come clean and tell the truth about not being a virgin when they met.

After suffering from third degree burns and facing death threats, she went to police and filed for divorce.

However, at Superior Court the woman said that she wants the man to seek therapy, rather than go to jail, because it would hurt the children and cause problems with the family. The husband called several friends to testify on his behalf, they all described him as a good man, although one said that it was normal in his country for a woman who breaks trust in such a way to first purify herself.

According to prosecutor Sylvie Lemieux, the victim is simply suffering from the guilt often common in domestic abuse.

“She doesn’t want to face the responsibility, she still feels guilty about everything that happened,” said Lemieux. “She was hoping that the violence would stop and that she could resume a normal life.”

The prosecution has decided to not listen to the wife’s objection and is seeking a sentence of several years in jail. The sentence is expected March 1.