After Jordan, Lebanon repeals ‘marry the rapist’ law

Tarek Ali Ahmad
Tarek Ali Ahmad - Al Arabiya English
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The Lebanese parliament passed a law to abolish a controversial article which granted rapists an ‘escape’ from prison if they married their victims.

Wednesday’s move by the legislature follows years of campaigning against articles dealing with violence against women. The law had been in place since the late 1940s.

The Lebanese law stated that rapists are punishable by up to seven years in prison. If the rape victim is a person with a special need, physical or mental, the penalty was increased. Article 522 added that if the violator marries his victim, criminal prosecution is suspended.

“The repeal of article 522 is an important and overdue step to protect women’s rights in Lebanon,” said Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Parliament should now follow this up by passing pending legislation to end child marriage and marital rape, both of which are still legal in Lebanon.”

Supporters of the law in socially conservative areas of the country argued that the marriage would salvage the honor of the woman and her family.

“I think amending such violated articles first in Morocco, Jordan and now Lebanon is an indication that governments and parliaments have to work on repealing or amending discriminatory laws in the Penal Codes. It is also a sign that governments should comply with the International conventions including CRC and CEDAW,” MENA expert for woman’s rights organization Equality Now, Suad Abu-Dayyeh, told Al Arabiya English.

“I think it is high time to recognize women as citizens in our region by amending and revoking discriminatory articles not just in the penal code but rather in other laws such as the family laws, labor laws etc,” she added.

Earlier in August, Jordan’s parliament repealed a similar law.

(With AP)

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