Jordan appears set to repeal a loophole-law from 1960, after years of women activists, and Muslim and Christian scholars campaigning against this law.
Sunday, Article 308 was recommended to be removed by the cabinet.
This Law previously allowed a loophole for rapists to evade jail time by marrying their victims for atleast 5 years. This was believed to both protect the reputation of the victims and hold the attackers responsible to their actions.
An amendment was made last year, that the law could only work in the case of the woman being ages 15-18, and if it was believed to be consensual…
The Cabinet has decided to scrap the law completely along with amending more than 180 other articles, but still awaits the votes of parliament.
The law needs to pass both houses of parliament and be approved by the king.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director told the Humans Rights Watch “Jordan will take a step in the right direction if it changes the law to prevent rapists from getting away with their crimes and strengthens the rights of people with disabilities,”
Human Rights Watch is optimistic about the future amendments but is worried about Article 308’s failure to address marital rape. Currently the law criminalizes any “person who has forced sexual intercourse with a female, other than his wife…”
Others in the region are following in their footsteps:
Lebanese activists protested their country’s version of the law Saturday by hanging 31 paper wedding dresses from nooses seaside in Beirut.
The Lebanese administration approved repealing their similar law in December, but has delayed making a final decision; they are hopeful it will be repealed in May.
Activists hope these two countries could lead to other countries in the region to repeal similar laws as well.