Jordan repeals law that allowed rapists to marry their victims



CAIRO, Nehal El-Sherif (dpa) - Jordan's lower house of parliament repealed a law on Tuesday that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims, according to the official news agency Petra.
Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh said the measure passed with a majority vote, without elaborating on the number of lawmakers who voted against it.
There are 130 members in the lower house.



"Today is an important step for feminist movements and non-governmental organizations who managed to put this amendment on the discussion table and urge for the protection of female victims of sexual assault," said Hala Ahed, legal consultant at Jordanian Women's Union, a non-governmental women's rights group based in Amman.
"The article did not have a positive effect on society. On the contrary, it was an easy way out [for attackers]. Yet, now the repeal makes the state responsible for supporting victims of assault," she told dpa.
A royal committee had suggested abolishing the controversial Article 308 in February, among its recommendations on amending the country's 1960 penal code.
King Abdullah established the committee in September 2016 to present proposals to parliament to amend the criminal justice system.
The amendment will now be discussed by the 65-member Senate, the upper house of parliament. If approved, it will be sent to King Abdullah for ratification.
"We have been working for years to achieve justice for women and our work is not done yet. There is a conservative bloc within the Senate, so we will continue our mobilization until the law is ratified," Ahed added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on lawmakers to remove the article "to strengthen the rule of law and end impunity for violence against women."
On July 26, Tunisia's parliament scrapped a similar provision in its penal code. Morocco removed it in January 2014, while Egypt did so in 1999.
Other countries in the region that retain similar provisions include Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, and Syria, according to HRW.
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Wednesday, August 2nd 2017
Nehal El-Sherif
           


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