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Heated debate over Article 308 expected as House panel has change of heart

Deliberations to start today over fate of rapists who marry their victims

By Jassar Al Tahat - Jul 25,2017 - Last updated at Jul 25,2017

AMMAN — The campaign seeking the annulment of the controversial Article 308 of the Penal Code has hit a snag after the Lower House’s Legal Committee recommended to amend the article instead of scrapping it, reversing its initial stand.

The House is scheduled to start deliberation of a new version of code on Tuesday, including the said article, which has been removed by the government, upon recommendations by the Royal Committee for Developing the Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law, which was tasked with revising the Jordanian Penal Code for the year 1960. 

In its existing version, Article 308 states that if a valid marriage contract is held between the rapist and his victim and the marriage lasts for three years at least, the charges will be dropped and if a verdict has already been issued, the punishment will be suspended.

In late April the Lower House referred the amended Penal Code to the House Legal Committee to discuss it and make recommendations. 

The panel, however, discarded the government’s decision to scrap the provision, which has been heavily criticised by right activists, and kept the article after suggesting some changes. One of these is expanding the marriage minimum duration to seven years, while the husband can still be prosecuted if the woman files for divorce citing abuse by the husband.

The amendments also narrowed the cases of which the rapist could benefit from Article 308 to three cases instead of 16 cases in the original Penal Code. 

MP Saleh Armouti (Amman, 3rd District) told The Jordan Times that “apparently, the Legal Committee and others who are pressuring to keep this humiliating article do not understand its impact”.

“There are no solid grounds for taking the option of amendment instead of annulment since the edits maintain the core of the legal loophole,” Armouti added.

“What if the victim was raped by more than one? Which of them would be the husband and evade the penalty? And we need to take in consideration that DNA tests are not decisive in proving parentage in case of pregnancy during rape cases,” argued Armouti.

Other lawmakers have advocated amendment.  

Balqa Deputy Mustafa Yaghi has said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times after the Cabinet endorsed the cancellation of Article 308 that the provision should only be amended to give room for cases where people involved in a rape case can eventually get married.

He said he plans to form a lobby of MPs to push for amending the article.

“I am for women’s rights in Jordan, but I also believe in leaving options open in cases of sexual assault, because, at the end of the day, we have to respect our traditions, which in this case could spare women’s lives and prevent any harm that could be committed against them,” Yaghi, who is also a lawyer, argued.

He added that he is “certain that the government and the Royal committee made the amendment to appease the West and for funding purposes”.

The Jordan Times has not been able to reach MP Mustafa Khasawneh, who heads the House’s Legal Committee for comment, but he has previously expressed support for abolishing 308. 

 

“The Legal Committee supports the annulment of Article 308, because we believe there has been so much injustice caused and because we know that many criminals have been secured undeserved freedom because of it,” he said in a previous interview. 

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Law should be discussed with solemnity. First, have we discussed rape? Everybody, is forgetting the classical definition of rape, which means forcible sex or sexual assault. Such rapists must not be allowed to marry his victim. If sex happens in a state of undefined relationship between a boy and a girl, the girl's parents would cry rape. That may not be the case, though, absolute willing cooperation of the girl may also not be there. Under these grey circumstances, option given to a girl, to decide if she wants to marry that guy is rational. She should not be forced to opt, by anybody. There is absolutely no doubt on this. What the activists, I fear, are pushing for, is a complete ban on the option available to girl, under every circumstance of a bad sexual experience. Better is to avoid this extreme, because Muslim girls do go for second thoughts within the fold a family milieu. Non-Muslims have various degrees of freedom, where the girls can settle the issues on their own.

Honor matters. When we say honor, we mean being morally sound and not offending and upsetting anyone, including conservatives. If you think the American neo-cons are going to bomb the conservatives in Jordan or are going to put them in concentration camps for you so you can strutt in the streets freely and sanction your populations for Israel and for revenge justice of the military disadvantages of the Arab World, you guys better turn yourselves in before they raid you, and trust me, you don't want to wake up to the sounds of bullets going off.

Are they doing the cleansing orchestration one to get at America?

Coach 392 On MDNM's:

Moral Defection Normalization Movements will surely get attention from ultra-cons in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and others. Instead of turning your country into how Iraq is with daily bombings in your markets and public theaters, stick to something where you don't get attention, like trying not to get attention and offending the conservative demographics. Trust me, dying for strutting rights and offending the conservative demographic is inferior to being morally sound and living with God.

The enough punishment is a good for our community,,, but still the role of policy and its role ,,, the religious people in mousq and church,,, the school role ,,, all must play role ,,, final , the hard punishment is must .

Hinchalla Hinchalla Hinchallah
tu est tout Puissant Hallah le magnifiant Hallah
le tout puissant Hallah le seul Hallah l'unique Hallah peu tout changer car Tu est Tout Hallah tout t'appartiens tu sait tout connais tout Hallah tout ce qui se trouve aux cieux sur ,la terre et tout ce qui ce trouve entre les deux Inchallah le magnifique l'unique

This does not protect the honour of any family or any nation. It is immature backward and somewhat stupid. For mankind to reach its maturity we have to realise the equality of men and women, that they are like the two wings of the one bird of our civilisation. For as long as one wing is weak this bird will not fly, we will not have peace and security or prosperity and neither will men reach their potential. Stupid MEN!

Barbaric ......

It is time this "protection of the family honor" is ended. It is no honor to any family or country and against the very core of Isalmic honor.

"Be honorable towards women, as by Allah only a honorable man would treat woman with honer and none but a mean man would humilate them"

it's time this "protect the family honor" is ended. It is no honor to any family or country and against the very core of Isalmic honor.

"Be honorable towards women, as by Allah only a honorable man would treat woman with honer and none but a mean man would humilate them"

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