Lebanon scraps reviled rape law after campaign

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 16, 2017

Lebanon on Wednesday joined other Arab nations in abolishing a law that lets rapists escape punishment if they marry their victims in a move applauded by women's rights campaigners.

Women's rights activists had long demanded that Article 522 of the penal code be repealed.

"Today's win is a victory for the dignity of women", the NGO said.

It follows in the footsteps of Jordan and Tunisia, which annulled their "marry-the-rapist" clauses in recent weeks.

States retaining a comparable loophole include Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Syria.

A proposal to repeal Article 522 of the penal code - which deals with rape, assault, kidnapping and forced marriage - was introduced past year and approved by a parliamentary committee in February.

A proposal to repeal Article 522 of the penal code - which deals with rape, assault, kidnapping and forced marriage - was introduced a year ago and approved by a parliamentary committee in February. If the rape victim is a person with a special need, physical or mental, the penalty was increased.

One activist said the law allowed "for a second assault on a rape survivor's rights in the name of "honour" by trapping her in a marriage with her rapist".

In May of previous year, Bahrain's Parliament voted to scrap a similar legal provision there, although the cabinet has yet to approve the move.

Abaad has lobbied against the law for months, plastering the streets with billboards of women in bloodied and torn bridal gowns.

Activists also want Lebanon's parliament to address the issue of marital rape.

In April, campaigners hung white wedding dresses from nooses on Beirut's popular seafront.

Article 503 of the penal code defines the crime of rape as "forced sexual intercourse [against someone] who is not his wife by violence or threat".

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