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Jordan Repeals Controversial Rape Law

Women activists protest in front Jordan's parliament in Amman on August 1, 2017 with banners calling on legislators to repeal a provision that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim.

Lawmakers in Jordan have voted to repeal a law that drops charges against rapists if they agree to marry their victims.

Activists have been lobbying for years to repeal article 308, which states rape charges can be dropped against a man who marries his victim and does not divorce her for five years.

The narrow vote Tuesday that followed an emotional debate was hailed by rights groups, who urge other countries in the Middle East with similar laws to follow suit.

In the hours before the vote, international watchdog Human Rights Watch released a statement saying that the repeal "would be a positive step to strengthen the rule of law and end impunity for violence against women."

The group also urged Lebanon, whose parliament is considering repealing a similar law, to do the same.

Jordan's vote came a week after Tunisia abolished their version of the provision.