PENAL CODE OFFENCES OFFERING PROTECTION TO WOMEN AND GIRLS

Incest (Article 285)

The perpetrator of incest with a family member (direct relative or second degree relative) faces punishment of hard labour for a minimum of seven years.

If the crime is committed with a person under his or her legitimate or legal or official authority, the perpetrator shall be punished with temporary imprisonment for a period not less than five years.

Rape (Article 292)

Any person who has sexual intercourse with a female, other than his wife, without her consent, whether by coercion or threat or deception, shall be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years of hard labour.

The sentence shall be the death penalty if the survivor younger than 15 years old.

The penalty shall be 20 years’ imprisonment if the survivor is between 15-18 years old.

Rape of a vulnerable female (Article 293)

Any person who has sexual intercourse with a female, other than his wife, who cannot resist the man’s conduct due to a physical or a mental disability, faces punishment under article 292 (above).

Sexual intercourse with a female under 18 years (Article 294)

Any person who has forced sexual intercourse with a female, other than his wife, between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age can be sentenced to seven years of temporary hard labour. If the survivor is between 12 and 15 years of age, the minimum penalty shall be 15 years. If the survivor is under 12 years, the death penalty (Article 292(2)) can apply.

INDECENT ACTS (Articles 296-299 and Article 320)
Hatek ‘ard Article 296 : 

(any sexual act that does not amount to rape)

Anyone who violates the law by force or threat shall be punished by imprisonment for a minimum of four years.

The minimum sentence shall be five years if the survivor falls between 15 – 17 years old and seven years if the survivor has completed 12 years of age and has not attained the age 15 years.

Article 320:

A person who has committed an indecent act or made an indecent gesture in a public place or in public society or in a place where he can be seen from a public place shall be penalized for maximum one year in prison and a fine of 200 dinars.

The penalty shall be doubled if the act is committed by more than one person and/or if repeated.

Abduction: Article 302

Whoever abducts a person through deception or force shall be punished by the following:

 Imprisonment between 1-3 years if the abducted person is a male below the age of 15.

 Temporary hard labour if the abducted person is a female.

 Hard labour for a period not less than five years if the abducted female is married regardless if she has attained 15 years of age or not.

 Hard labour for a period not less than ten years if the abducted person, whether male or female, was assaulted by either rape or indecent acts.

 Hard labour for a period not less than ten years if the abducted female was married and below 15 years of age and was sexually assaulted.

 Hard labour for a period not less than seven years if the abducted female was married and above 15 years of age and was sexually assaulted.

Punishment is increased if the survivor is someone with a disability

Article 304: Seduction

Unless a harsher sentence is deserved, any person who has sexual intercourse with a virgin who has reached 18 years of age after promising to marry her faces a prison sentence for a period of six months to three years.

Article 305: Unwanted sexual contact

Any person who engages in unwanted sexual contact with:

 A person, male or female, younger than 18 years of age; or,

 A person, male or female, 18 years old or older, but without their consent

Faces a prison sentence for a period of up to one year.

REDUCED SENTENCES:

The Penal Code (Article 340) allows sentences to be reduced in the following circumstances of murder/assault:

Whoever catches his wife or a female decedent, ancestor or sister in an act of adultery or in an illegitimate bed and murders, assaults, injures, harms or permanently disfigures her/or them both shall benefit from a reduced penalty.

Whoever catches her husband in an act of adultery or in an illegitimate bed in their matrimonial home and murders, assaults, harms or permanently disfigures him or (both), also benefits from a reduced penalty.

However, those who benefit from these reduced sentences cannot then appeal for “lawful self-defense” (additional reductions as a result of defending oneself) nor can they appeal for any provisions of “aggravated circumstances”.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION:

Jordan uses a system of “protective” detention for women and girls who are at-risk or under threat. The system was born as a protective measure from the prevalence of honour killings in the country.

Women or girls at-risk may be incarcerated by the regional governor under the Crime Prevention Law (1954). Women and girls whose lives are deemed to be threatened by a family member for reasons related to family honour may be forcibly detained (in the same spaces as those detained for criminal activity) for their protection. Women may be released if the guardian provides an undertaking that he will not harm her. However, the governor can refuse to release the woman if it’s believed her life is still in danger.

The Ministry of Social Development sought to replace administrative detentions in 2017 by phasing in a system of shelters for at-risk and vulnerable women, intended to provide a safe space, access to health and support services.

However, in the same way that protective detention is criticised for violating women and girls’ fundamental human rights and freedom of movement, advocates in the country raise concerns that women residing in these shelters may too be denied the right to freedom of movement.

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