Law allowing rapists to avoid punishment by marrying victims

Web Desk) – A law that allows rapists to marry their victims in order to escape punishment has been repealed in Jordan.

According to CNN, the highly criticised and controversial clause, which legally allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims and stay married for three years, has been repealed by Jordan’s parliament.

Steps towards abolishing the law – Article 308, had first been taken by Jordan’s cabinet which had moved to abolish it back in April. The move had received the endorsement of King Abdullah and the proposal had been pending ratification by the Parliament. Now that the Parliament has approved the law’s repeal, the decision will now have to be approved by the upper house and then ratified by King Abdullah II.

Article 308 traces its roots back to the Ottoman legal code and had been in effect for a long time. Its critics have said that the stature was outdated and created a legal loophole through which criminals could avoid prosecution as long as both people involved got married to each other for a minimum of three years.

According to Human Rights Watch eight other Arab states have similar laws that allow rapists to escape legal punishment if they agreed to marry their victims. However, all these states are facing growing pressure from activists to reform such laws which has led to Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt repealing similar legislation.