Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Lebanon Repeals ‘Marry the Rapist’ Law | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Wedding dresses displayed in Beirut, Lebanon, by the women’s rights group Abaad in April to protest a law that allowed rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims. Credit Patrick Baz/Agence France-Presse

Beirut- After a long strive by the women authorities and the civil society in Lebanon, the Lebanese Parliament repealed a law (Article 522) that allowed rapists to evade punishment by marrying their victims. However, the decision was seen insufficient.

Lebanese Women Affairs Minister Jean Oghassabian was the first to object and tweeted that he welcomes the repeal of article 522, but shows reservation over preserving articles 505 and 518, since there are no exceptions in the rape crime.

He added that articles 505 and 518 stipulate that the rapist will not be prosecuted if he marries the underage – between 15 and 18 years old.

Following protests of organizations and associations in the civil community, the article was finally abolished – in the beginning of August, Jordan enacted a similar law that punishes the rapist instead of exempting him if he marries the victim.

Director of KAFA Zoya Rouhana stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the “parliament step is incomplete, as usual. It maintained two articles that legalize the marriage of the underage instead of repealing them as we were demanding.”

Rouhana explained that articles from 503 to 521 tackle various kinds of sexual crimes, however the following article 522 sums them up stipulating that the rapist is exempted from the punishment in case he marries the victim.

“But the parliament excluded articles 505 and 518 that still allow the rapist to evade punishment if he marries the victim. This makes Jordan better than Lebanon and shows that their legislations are braver,” she added.

Oghassabian stated that the ministry will propose before the cabinet a bill to abolish these two oppressive articles that encourage marrying the underage.