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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jordan parliament repeals ‘marry the rapist’ clause Tuesday Aug 01,2017

The lower house of Jordan’s parliament on Tuesday Aug 01,2017 scrapped a provision in the kingdom’s penal code that allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim.

Cheers erupted from the spectators’ gallery as legislators narrowly voted for repeal, following an emotional debate. The vote was hailed as a major step forward for women in the conservative kingdom.

“This is a victory for the women’s movement and human rights movement in Jordan,” said Salma Nims, the secretary general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women. Despite the country’s pro-Western political orientation and cosmopolitan urban elites, many areas of Jordan remain socially conservative, with entrenched notions of “family honor.” This includes the belief that having a rape victim in the family is shameful, and that such “shame” can be expunged through marriage.

In Tuesday Aug 01,2017’s debate, some lawmakers had argued that an amended version of Article 308 was needed to protect rape victims against social stigma by giving them the marriage option.

In the end, lawmakers voted in line with the recommendations of the government and a royal committee on legal reforms. Moussa Maaytah, the Cabinet minister for parliamentary affairs, said that Tuesday’s “progressive decision” capped years of debate in the Jordanian society.

The decision must still be approved by parliament’s appointed upper house, or Senate, and by King Abdullah II. After the expected final approval, Jordan would join Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt which have canceled their “marry the rapist” clauses over the years.

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