Lebanese Parliament topples law allowing victims to marry their ‘rapists’


Equality Now, a lobby group, has welcomed the move by the Lebanese Parliament to repeal Article 522 of the Penal Code that allowed men guilty of rape to marry their victims and provide further proof of a marriage contract in order to avoid being penalized.

In a statement, Samira Atallah, Senior Advisor on the MENA region says that the move by the country’s Parliament sends a strong message that crime is a serious crime.

“Today a message was sent by the Lebanese Parliament that rape is a serious crime and will be treated as such, and this message should be made loud and clear with public and legal education to ensure that violations no longer occur under the pretext of protecting “family honor” we also hope that the repeal of this law will pave the way for the immediate repeal of other discriminatory provisions in the Lebanese Penal Code and legal changes in support of women’s and girls’ rights, particularly in connection with child marriage and marital rape,” the statement read.

According to the statement, Ms. Samira says that on December 7, 2016, the Lebanese Parliamentary Administration and Justice Committee approved the repeal of Article 522 from the Penal Code, and this has come following years of campaigning by Lebanese and international women’s rights organizations.

She also notes that a yes vote by the Lebanese Parliament means that perpetrators of rape, kidnapping or statutory rape will not be able to escape prosecution or other penalties by marrying their victims.

“After 68 years of a discriminatory law that practically rewarded rapists and punished rape victims, Lebanon finally moved forward towards honoring its international commitments to women’s human rights, and joined other Arab countries, most recently Jordan and Tunisia, in repealing a law that has for long protected criminals and turned marriage into a prison for rape victims.”

Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy.

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Story By Wahome Gitonga
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