Rapist walks free by marrying 14-year-old victim

JORDAN - The ordeal of a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped repeatedly for three days has infuriated Jordanians, especially when her attacker agreed to marry her to avoid going to jail.

In conservative Muslim societies like Jordan, rapists can walk free thanks to penal code Article 308, known as the "rape law".

In April, the unidentified girl was shopping in the northern city of Zarqa when a 19-year-old man kidnapped her and took her to the desert where he pitched a tent and raped her for three consecutive days, judicial sources said.

Police found her during a routine patrol, drove her back home and arrested the man.

But within days, news emerged that he had agreed to marry the girl, while all charges against him has been dropped.

Earlier this month, another girl, 15, was talked into following a man into an apartment in Amman where she was also raped, AFP reported.

Judicial sources said the young man is now desperately trying to work out an arrangement with her family to marry her to avoid jail.

Article 308 allows for rape charges to be dropped if the rapist agrees to marry the victim.

He cannot divorce the woman for five years.

"This article of the law not only helps perpetrators walk free, it rewards them by allowing them to marry their victims," Ms Nadia Shamrukh, head of the Jordanian Women's Union, said.

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