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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Jordan woman 'wins right to divorce'
Scene in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Women cannot divorce in most Muslim countries
A Jordanian woman has reportedly won the right to divorce her husband, in the first such court ruling under a new law.

The unidentified woman has been married for three years to a man she claims to "hate", according to Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab Al-Yawm.

Like most Islamic countries, Jordan's legal system only used to allow men to file for divorce, but a new law which came into effect earlier this year gave women the same right.

King Abdullah
King Abdullah pledged to improve women's rights in Jordan
The woman filed for divorce shortly after the law was passed, according to the report.

In line with the new legislation, she first had to forfeit any right to financial compensation.

This included a dowry she had received from her husband at the time of their marriage, the newspaper said.

Improving women's status

The court tried to reconcile the couple but finally bowed to the woman's request in line with the new legislation.

The amended law states that a judge can order a divorce if the woman says "she can no longer live with her husband".

The changes were based on a proposal by a royal human rights commission set up in 2000.

The commission was set up by King Abdullah, who pledged to improve the status of Jordanian women when he came to power in 1999.

Correspondents say that since the new law came into force, at least 50 women have filed for divorce.

The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi
"Critics say many women will not have the means to buy their freedom"
See also:

12 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Jordan
02 Nov 01 | Middle East
Profile: King Abdullah of Jordan
07 Jul 00 | Middle East
Jordan women seek jail 'sanctuary'
24 Apr 00 | Middle East
Jordanian women killed 'for honour'
26 Jun 00 | Middle East
Battle of the sexualities
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