Lebanon annuls ‘marry the rapist’ law
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Lebanon annuls ‘marry the rapist’ law

Following similar move by Jordan, parliament in Beirut scraps article allowing rapists to escape punishment

Lebanese activists use an installation of wedding dresses by Lebanese artist Mireille Honein at Beirut's Corniche to ramp up their campaign to press parliament to scrap Article 522 of Lebanon's penal code which allows rapists to escape punishement (AFP/Patrick Baz)
Lebanese activists use an installation of wedding dresses by Lebanese artist Mireille Honein at Beirut's Corniche to ramp up their campaign to press parliament to scrap Article 522 of Lebanon's penal code which allows rapists to escape punishement (AFP/Patrick Baz)

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s parliament abolished a controversial article that allowed rapists to escape prison by marrying their victims.

Wednesday’s move by the legislature followed years of campaigning against articles dealing with violence against women. The law had been in place since the late 1940s.

Earlier in August, Jordan’s parliament repealed a similar law.

The Lebanese law stated that rapists are punishable by up to seven years in prison. If the rape victim is a person with a special need, physical or mental, the penalty was increased. Article 522 added that if the violator marries his victim, criminal prosecution is suspended.

Supporters of the law in socially conservative areas of the country argued that the marriage would salvage the honor of the woman and her family.

Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have also scrapped similar clauses over the years, according to Human Rights Watch.

However, the “marry the rapist” provision remains on the books in several other countries in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as in the Philippines and Tajikistan, HRW said earlier this month.

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