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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:41 pm 
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Jordan repeals law that allowed rapists to marry their victims
By Nehal El-Sherif
1 August 2017

Cairo (dpa) - Jordan's lower house of parliament repealed a law on Tuesday that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims, according to the official news agency Petra.

Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh said the measure passed with a majority vote, without elaborating on the number of lawmakers who voted against it. There are 130 members in the lower house.

"Today is an important step for feminist movements and non-governmental organizations who managed to put this amendment on the discussion table and urge for the protection of female victims of sexual assault," said Hala Ahed, legal consultant at Jordanian Women's Union, a non-governmental women's rights group based in Amman. "The article did not have a positive effect on society. On the contrary, it was an easy way out [for attackers]. Yet, now the repeal makes the state responsible for supporting victims of assault," she told dpa.

A royal committee had suggested abolishing the controversial Article 308 in February, among its recommendations on amending the country's 1960 penal code. King Abdullah established the committee in September 2016 to present proposals to parliament to amend the criminal justice system.

The amendment will now be discussed by the 65-member Senate, the upper house of parliament. If approved, it will be sent to King Abdullah for ratification. "We have been working for years to achieve justice for women and our work is not done yet. There is a conservative bloc within the Senate, so we will continue our mobilization until the law is ratified," Ahed added. Earlier on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on lawmakers to remove the article "to strengthen the rule of law and end impunity for violence against women."

On July 26, Tunisia's parliament scrapped a similar provision in its penal code. Morocco removed it in January 2014, while Egypt did so in 1999. Other countries in the region that retain similar provisions include Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, and Syria, according to HRW.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:30 am 
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Lebanon scraps law absolving rapists who marry victims
16 August 2017

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Women demanding the repeal of Article 522 protested at the Beirut Marathon last November. AFP

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's parliament abolished on Wednesday a law that absolves rapists if they marry their victims, joining other Arab states that have repealed "marry-your-rapist" laws in recent weeks.

Lawmaker Elie Kayrouz, who backed ending the law - article 522 of the penal code - said other clauses also required change to protect women and children. Still, "at the end of the day, this represents a positive development in Lebanon's legislation," he told Reuters.

Marital rape and child marriage remain legal in Lebanon. Jordan abolished a similar marriage loophole this month, and Tunisia passed a law in July to protect women against violence which included scrapping a similar clause. Egypt abolished its law in 1999, and Morocco repealed it in 2014 after the suicide of a 16-year-old girl and the attempted suicide of a 15-year-old forced to marry their rapists.

Even so, rapists can escape punishment by marrying their victims in nations including Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, the Philippines and Tajikistan, according to the global campaign group Equality Now. The U.N. says a third of women worldwide have suffered sexual or physical violence, and one in 10 girls have been raped or sexually assaulted.

"Today, we want to congratulate the women of Lebanon," said lawyer Danielle Howayek, from the Beirut-based women's rights group Abaad. Howayek said there was still a long way to go for Lebanese law to protect women, but getting rid of the "marry-your-rapist" provision - which dates back to 1943 - marked a major step. "Today, it should be clear to everyone that there is no room for avoiding the penalty for rape, and for any sexual act by force or under duress," she added.

Abaad has lobbied against the law for months, plastering the streets with billboards of women in bloodied and torn bridal gowns. "A white dress doesn't cover up rape," the images say. In April, activists hung battered white dresses from nooses on Beirut's popular seafront.

Justice Minister Salim Jrayssati said he would consult women's rights groups to "see if there's a need for other or more amendments". Lebanon's parliament passed a long-awaited law in 2014 penalizing domestic violence for the first time. But activists were outraged that authorities had watered it down and that it fell short of criminalizing marital rape.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Issam Abdallah; Writing by Ellen Francis
Source: Reuters

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:35 pm 
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India's top court: Instant divorce among Muslims unlawful
By MUNEEZA NAQVI
22 August 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's Supreme Court said Tuesday that the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce their wives is unconstitutional and requested the government legislate an end to the practice.

The bench comprised of five senior judges of different faiths deliberated for three months before issuing its order. The order comes in response to petitions from seven Muslim women who had been divorced through triple talaq. The government must now amend the sections of India's Muslim personal law that allows the practice known as triple talaq.

"It's a very happy day for us. It's a historic day," said Zakia Soman the co-founder of the Indian Muslim Women's Movement, which was part of the legal battle to end triple talaq. "We, the Muslim women, are entitled to justice from the courts as well as the legislature," she added.

More than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice. But in India, the practice has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious law in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal law has been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. Those laws include allowing men to divorce their wives by simply uttering the word "talaq," or divorce in Arabic, three times - and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium including telephone, text message or social media post.

India's Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community to tackle. But several progressive Muslim activists have decried the law board's position. "This is the demand of ordinary Muslim women for over 70 years and it's time for this country to hear their voices," activist Feroze Mithiborwala told New Delhi television station.

The current government supports an end to the practice and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in many public addresses that the practice oppresses Muslim women and needs to be ended.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:58 am 
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India lower house approves bill banning instant divorce
By ASHOK SHARMA
28 December 2017

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's powerful lower house of parliament on Thursday approved a bill making the practice of instant divorce illegal and punishable with up to three years imprisonment for offending husbands.

The bill came months after India's Supreme Court ruled that the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce their wives was unconstitutional. Several opposition parties criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for not discussing the legislation with them before introducing it in Parliament on Thursday. The approved bill will now go to the upper house of parliament, where it needs approval before it becomes law.

More than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice. But in India, the practice has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious law in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

Women's rights activist Zakia Soman said it was a much needed law for Muslim women, who have suffered legal discrimination with Hindu and Christian women enjoying protection under separate laws. Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. Those laws include allowing men to divorce their wives by simply uttering the Arabic word "talaq," or divorce, three times - and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

Kamal Farooqi, a leader representing the All India Muslim Personal Board, a top grouping of Islamic organisations, said the organization was opposed to the practice of instant divorce but argued against the government or courts interfering in religious laws. He said the board was in favor of leaving the divorce issue to the Muslim community to tackle. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the board's position.

Source: AP

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