Lebanon ends loophole for rapists who marry victims

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The lebanese Parliament has repealed Wednesday, an article decried the criminal code allowing a rapist to escape conviction if he married his victim, reported the official news agency and an NGO which has been hailed "a victory for the dignity of women".

Danielle Hoyek, Founder of Abaad, a local NGO campaigning against the law, said "we can not but say thank you to the Lebanese parliament for this achievement and victory for women and girls in Lebanon".

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

Justice Minister Salim Jrayssati said he would consult women's rights groups to "see if there's a need for other or more amendments".

"This is a very positive and long-overdue development for the protection of women's rights in Lebanon", said Bassam Khawaja from the Human Rights Watch.

Marital rape and child marriage are still legal in the country.

In December, the New York-based Human Rights Watch urged Lebanon to repeal Article 522, saying it "allows for a second assault on a rape survivor's rights".

A Facebook post has also warned that the effect of article 522 "continues under Article 505, which involves sex with a minor who is 15 years of age, as it does through Article 518, which concerns the seduction of a minor with the promise of marriage".

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"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", he added.

Women in Lebanon have long campaigned for the government to scrap the reviled Article 522.

"A white dress doesn't cover up rape", the images say.

Jordan and Tunisia recently abolished similar provisions.

An April exhibition, of 31 wedding dresses suspended from makeshift nooses between palm trees along Beirut's seafront corniche also sought to put pressure on legislators to eliminate the law.

Egypt abolished its law in 1999.

The rule remains in power in several countries such as Iraq, Algeria, Syria, and the Philippines.

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