Responding to news that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday 1 August to abolish Article 308 of the penal code, which allowed perpetrators of sexual violence to escape punishment by marrying their victim, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle East at Amnesty International said:
“The vote to abolish this repugnant law is a long overdue step in the right direction for the Kingdom of Jordan. We now urge the parliament’s upper house and King Abdullah II to immediately approve the vote and confirm the country’s commitment to gender equality.
“While this offers a much-needed glimmer of hope for women’s rights in the region, there is still a long way to go. Other countries must immediately follow suit and abolish these absurd laws. The Lebanese government will soon be voting to abolish its own version of the law, article 522. We urge Lebanese lawmakers to make the right choice.”
Article 308 stated that charges of rape could be dropped if a valid marriage contract between the rapist and his victim was presented and the marriage had lasted at least three years.
The vote came after intense campaigning by Jordanian women’s rights activists and civil society.
On Sunday July 20 2017, Women’s rights activists in the Kingdom of Jordan also celebrated the amendment of Article 98 which no longer grants leniency to perpetrators of “honor crimes” due to “mitigating circumstances”.
After final approval, Jordan would join Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt all of which have abolished similar articles in their penal code.
Women’s rights groups in Lebanon continue to campaign to abolish article 522 which absolves offenders of crimes such as rape, kidnapping and statutory rape of the crime if they marry their victim.
For more information, please contact Sue Montgomery, media relations for Amnesty International Canada, at 613-744-7667 ext. 236 or firstname.lastname@example.org