28 April 2017

Jordan: No more pardons for rapists who marry their victims

In some Arab countries, men who rape a woman but then marry her are protected from prosecution. But legislative changes approved by parliament in Jordan are making this a thing of the past.

For Jordan's MPs, it was time. In a bold move, the Jordanian government decided to change one of the most controversial articles in the country's laws. Article 308 had been a source of contention for years. It permitted rapists to go unpunished as long as they married their victims and stayed with them for at least three years.

Opposition to the law had been growing for some time, and numerous international organizations shared in the criticism. They say it was partly behind the recent increase in the number of so-called honor killings: family members of the victim say they often didn't know what else to do, and so took matters into their own hands.

The decision by parliament follows an awareness campaign mounted by both Muslim and Christian activists. For years, women's rights activists in Jordan have been calling for Article 308 to be changed. They say it represented a double punishment for female victims of rape: first the rape itself, then being forced to wed their attacker. [Deutsche Welle] Read more