Egypt to abolish archaic rape law

Sunday 04 April 1999 23:02

EGYPT IS to scrap a widely criticised law that allows rapists to go free if they marry their victims.

Al-Ahram newspaper quoted the Minister of Justice, Farouk Seif el-Nasr, yesterday as saying that the old law has "encouraged the criminals to perpetrate their crime instead of deterring them".

Parents of rape victims have used the law as a way to regain family honour through marriage of a daughter considered tainted. Rapists have used it to escape punishment.

President Hosni Mubarak is reported to have issued a decree after a heated debate in parliament. Opponents of the change argued that the law was in victims' interest because otherwise their marriage prospects were slim.

In some rural areas, rape victims have been killed by male relatives to restore family honour. (AP)

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