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Senate approves changes to Penal Code

Amendments seek primarily to increase protection of most vulnerable segments

By JT - Aug 02,2017 - Last updated at Aug 02,2017

AMMAN — The Senate on Wednesday passed a draft law amending the Penal Code for the year 2017, without changes to the Lower House-made changes and one day after a historic House vote to abolish Article 308, which allowed rapists to evade punishment.  

With the senators’ endorsement of changes to the key law, the new version will go into effect after the King’s approval and its publication in the Official Gazette. 

According to Petra, the draft law strengthens the penal protection of the most vulnerable segments of the population, including women, children and persons with disabilities by blocking the way before “honour killings” perpetrators from escaping punishment through the mitigating excuse provided for in Article 98 of the Penal Code. 

Moreover, the amendments harshen the punishment for certain crimes committed against minors and women, including the cancellation of Article 308 that allowed sexual assault perpetrators to escape punishment by marrying their victims.

The crimes whose penalties have been intensified include acts of terrorism, crimes of legal persons, vehicle crimes such as theft or burning, crimes against public officials while, or because of, performing their duty, provision of false certifications, festive firing, threatening at gunpoint, money smuggling, assault on the inviolability of private lives, electronic crimes, and cases of repetition of those crimes. 

Furthermore, the draft law punishes attempts to influence the judge and deliberately issuing falsified medical reports, and increases the criminal protection prescribed for cheques, according to Petra. The draft law also criminalises the incitement of hatred, the source added. 

 

The amended Penal Code is a key component of a 16-bill package to improve the performance of the judicial system based on recommendations by the Royal Committee for Developing the Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law, set up by His Majesty King Abdullah. 

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