Jordanian parliament rejects anti-"honor killings" law

Jordan's parliament has again rejected a bill that would mandate more severe punishments for so-called "honor crimes", i.e., cold-blooded murder of women based on supposed "immoral" relationships. Murderers who benefit from the "honor crime" provisions in Jordanian law may be sentenced to 6 months in jail, or less.

The BBC article has one fault that should be pointed out (I didn't see an article at the Jordan Times, which is usually good at covering these crimes). According to the article, "honor crimes" are "mostly carried out by brothers and fathers against women who have had sex outside of marriage". In theory, this is the case. However, post-mortems often show that the murdered women had not had any kind of sexual contact (e.g., they were still virgins at the time they were killed). Sometimes, being seen in the vicinity of a stranger is enough "reason" for the murder. I don't think I need to say that I oppose this kind of crime entirely and without reservation - but there's no justification whatsoever for the killings and their extremely lenient treatment under Jordanian law (i.e., it can't be pawned off on Islamic law - supposedly the bedrock of Jordanian society - which demands 2 reliable witnesses who saw the act first-hand - witnesses who are never produced for testimony and who are, in fact, irrelevant, since these types of murders are entirely extra-judicial in any event). But it should be stressed that mere suspicion of an "illicit" act is enough to allow a murderer to benefit from Jordan's incredible laws, even if no evidence is ever produced.

The funny thing is that the royal family has supposedly been against "honor crimes" for the last 20 years or so - and yet there's never any change in the laws governing them. In Jordan, what the royal family wants, the royal family gets. The only conclusion is that the royal fammily is being hypocritical on this issue. Hardly news, but worth mentioning anyway.

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