The Algerian Parliament yesterday approved amendments to the Penal Code criminalising violence against women.
Algerian Justice Minister Tayeb Louh told reporters: “This is an important step in the fight against violence in general, and violence against women in particular.”
Under the new law, a husband who assaults his wife could be handed a jail term ranging from three to five years depending on injuries sustained by the lady.
It also provides for the imprisonment of up to two years for any husband who acts to “dispose of the assets or financial resources” of his wife.
The new law also criminalises harassment of women in the workplace or public places.
Parliament passed the law in its first reading in March, amid strong opposition from Islamic parties who claimed the project planned to dismantle the family unit.
On Monday, the Algerian justice minister criticised the claims saying the amendments seek to preserve the family unity by allowing the victims to forgive the offender and put an end to all legal proceedings against him.
“More than 7,000 cases of violence against women were registered in 2014, something has to be done to curb the phenomenon” he added.
The amendments will become effective after President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika approves them.