Rapist off hook if he marries victim

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AMMAN: The ordeal of a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped repeatedly for three days has infuriated Jordanians, especially when her attacker agreed to marry her to avoid going to jail.

In conservative Muslim societies like Jordan, rapists can walk free thanks to penal code Article 308, known as the “rape law”.

In April, the unidentified girl was shopping in the northern city of Zarqa when a 19-year-old man kidnapped her, took her to the desert where he had a pitched a tent and raped her for three consecutive days, judicial sources said. Police found the girl during a routine patrol, drove her back to her family home and arrested the man.

Within days, news emerged that the man had agreed to marry the girl, while all charges against him have been dropped.

Article 308 allows rape charges to be dropped if the perpetrator agrees to marry the victim. He cannot divorce the woman for five years.

“This article of the law not only helps perpetrators walk free, it rewards them,” said Nadia Shamrukh, head of the Jordanian Women’s Union. – Sapa-AFP


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