Lebanon scraps controversial rape law after campaign

Parliament abolishes contentious 1940s law that allows rapists to marry their victims in order to avoid jail sentence.

Lebanon's parliament on Wednesday abolished a law that allowed rapists to avoid prison by marrying their victims.

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

The repeal of the law, which had been in place since the 1940s, follows years of campaigning by women's rights advocates.

Activists have campaigned against the country's law for more than a year, posting billboards of women in bloodied and torn wedding gowns.

The caption reads: "A white dress does not cover the rape."

The Lebanese law states that rape is punishable by up to seven years in prison, or more if the victim is mentally or physically disabled. Article 522 added that if the rapist marries the victim, criminal prosecution is suspended.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the official National News Agency and activist group ABAAD congratulated women in Lebanon.

"It is no longer possible to escape punishment for rape and sexual acts carried out by force and coercion," said the group, which has spearheaded the campaign to repeal the much-reviled article.

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

There are no precise figures on how many rapists marry their victims to avoid punishment, but activists say the practice mainly took place in rural areas.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the move by Lebanon's parliament but said more should be done to ensure women's rights.

"The repeal of article 522 is an important and overdue step to protect women's rights in Lebanon," said Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"Parliament should now follow this up by passing pending legislation to end child marriage and marital rape, both of which are still legal in Lebanon."

Lebanon's decision comes just over two weeks after Jordan's parliament banned a similar article in its penal code.

Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have cancelled similar "marry the rapist" clauses over the years.

The clause remains on the books in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, the Palestinian territories and Syria, as well as several countries in Latin America and in the Philippines and Tajikistan, according to Human Rights Watch.

Recent articles

Now, the instant cashback discount offer is available for Galaxy A50s and A70s at the offline retail stores in India.

Samsung will unveil the most anticipated 2020 flagship mobiles Galaxy S20 series smartphones at the event on Feb 11, 2020.

Honor 9X

HONOR 9X with 6.59-inch FHD+ display, 48MP triple rear cameras, 16MP pop-up camera launched in India on Jan 14, 2020.

Oppo F15

Oppo has launched its new F-series smartphone- OPPO F15 in India on 16, Jan 2020.

Samsung is going to unveil three phones in its upcoming flagship Galaxy S20 lineup– the Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S20+, and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Samsung is all set to launch its new flagship smartphones- Galaxy S20 series at its Galaxy Unpacked event next month.

Pocophone

Xiaomi has filed a trademark for a phone named Pocophone F2. This indicates that the successor of Pocophone F1 is coming soon.

Black Shark

Xiaomi's Black Shark 3 will be the first smartphone arrives with the highest amount of memory- 16GB RAM in the market.

Oppo F15

OPPO is all set to launch the Oppo F15 smartphone in India on January 16th, 2020.

Galaxy XCover Pro

Samsung has silently launched its new Xcover series of rugged smartphones - Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro in Finland.