Jordanian parliament repeals rape law

A key provision allowing rapists to go unpunished if they marry their victims has been terminated.

© Senior Airman Clayton Lenhardt Released

The Jordanian parliament ruled to abolish a stipulation in the country’s penal code stating that rapists may be able to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

According to Al Jazeera, Salma Nims, secretary-general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, said:  “We are celebrating today. This is a historic moment not only for Jordan, but for the entire region. This achievement is a result of the concerted effort of the civil society, women’s rights and human rights organisations in Jordan.”

The contentious provision, Article 308, which pardons perpetrators if they stay and marry their victims for at least three years, has polarised Jordan for decades. Civil society leaders were outside the parliament staging a protest to call for the total abolition of this Article.

“We were really worried, but our efforts were successful,” Nims added. “What we need to do is to work on amending the complete set of laws that affect the status of women in Jordan – specifically the personal status law and other laws that impact the life of women in Jordan and affect their rights in terms of equality.”

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