Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Jordanian Parliament Approves Annulment of Article 308 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Protesters in front of Jordan’s parliament in Amman hold banners calling for the repeal of a provision that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim. (Reem Saad / Associated Press)

Amman- The Jordanian parliament on Tuesday voted to repeal article 308 that allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim, knowing that the Parliament has been rejecting to revoke it since two decades.

Prime Minister Hani Mulki stressed that the government is committed to abolishing article 308 in order to protect Jordanian family values. Similar provisions have already been repealed in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia.

The Minister of Social Development, Hala Lattouf stated on Tuesday that the parliament decision to annul article 308 is a step towards safeguarding children, young girls, and families.

She added that families are usually based on mercy and love, two things that wouldn’t be achieved through article 308.

“Annulling the article doesn’t ban marriage or interfere with decisions of individuals regarding marriage, but in the case of a complaint, it must be investigated to achieve justice,” Lattouf noted.

The international group Human Rights Watch said that this is a positive step. Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at the HRW called article 308 “a blight on Jordan’s human rights record.”

Further, Eva Abu Halaweh, Executive manager of Mizan for Law, said that annulling this article is a victory for all rape victims.

Two days earlier, the parliament stated that killing “in a fit of rage” can no longer be considered a mitigating circumstance in such cases and maintained the stipulated sanctions that might reach execution or life-imprisonment.

A total of 12 women and six children were killed in the first half of 2017 in household crimes, some under the pretext of honor.