President Mahmoud Abbas signed into law two articles by presidential decree eliminating laws allowing leniency for civilians found guilty of assault or murder "in defense of family honor."The bad news? First of all, that this took so long.
The move, welcomed by women's rights activists, came in the wake of the grisly discovery of a Hebron woman drowned by her uncle because he disagreed with her choice of fiancee.
Until Sunday evening, personal status laws in the West Bank were those of the 1957 Jordan Penal Code, which operated in the area from 1948, when Jordan administered the area. Under international law, statutes and legal codes remain in place when a territory is occupied by a foreign power, and remain in place until new legislation is created to replace them.
Secondly, the exact nature of the amended law:
The amendment adds "this does not include the killing of women for issues of family honor," to Article 240 of the Jordanian penal code mandates that leniency in sentencing is available to those who beat or kill their wives, mothers, sisters or women within the family if they commit adultery or other acts of sexual impropriety.He didn't remove the law altogether, he just added that there shouldn't be leniency if the killing was made for "honor" reasons. Which means that as long as people who do "honor" killing claim that they killed their victims for some other reason, or if they beat them to within inches of death for honor reasons, then they still can get lenient sentences.
He could have removed this leniency law altogether, and didn't. Why the hell not?