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Jordanian parliament annuls controversial rape law

Jordan's parliament on Tuesday voted to annul a controversial legal article exempting rapists from punishment in the event that they marry the rape victim.

At a Tuesday parliamentary session attended by Prime Minister Hani al-Mulqi, a majority of MPs voted in favor of annulling the law, which has been in effect since 1960.

Article 308 of Jordan's Penal Code had exempted perpetrators of rape crimes from punishment if they agreed to marry their victims for a minimum five-year period.

"The government remains committed to annulling Article 308 with a view to strengthening the protection afforded to Jordanian families," Jordan's official Petra News Agency quoted al-Mulqi as saying.

Mazen Arshidat, head of the Jordanian Lawyers' Syndicate, for his part, said the parliamentary decision would be submitted to the assembly's second chamber on Wednesday before being referred to King Abdullah II for final approval.

Read: Lebanon activists ramp up pressure on reviled rape law

"Article 308 has divided the Jordanian people and has caused a number of humanitarian and social problems," he said.

Recent months have seen several petitions launched in Jordan calling for the legal article to be abolished.

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