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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 00:07 GMT 01:07 UK
'Honour killings' law blocked
Jordanian woman
Some women in Jordan are regarded as their family's property
Parliament in Jordan has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed law imposing harsher punishments for men who kill female relatives in what are known as "honour killings".

It was the second time since June's elections that the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, quashed the bill on such killings, which are mostly carried out by brothers and fathers against women who have had sex outside of marriage.

Islamists and conservatives opposed to the new law said it would encourage vice and destroy social values.

Another bill - allowing women to divorce their husbands - was referred to a parliamentary legal committee for further review.

In August, the upper house, or Senate, upheld both bills, after they were rejected by the lower house. The bills now are expected to be debated jointly by both chambers.

Correspondents say that if lawmakers continue to reject the amendments, only intervention by the Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah, can ensure they come into effect.

Guardians of traditions

Honour killings of women in Jordan have caused international outrage.

Honour killings
Permitted under Jordanian law articles 340 and 98
Usually carried out by brother or father of victim

But Jordanian MPs argue that more lenient punishments will violate religious traditions and damage the fabric of Jordan's conservative society, where men have the final say.

"Sixty of the 85 deputies... voted to reject this temporarily because the amendments were superficial and did not deal with the root of the issue," MP Adab Saoud told the AFP news agency.

Under the existing law, people found guilty of committing honour killings often receive sentences as light as six months in prison.

In 2001, King Abdullah passed a temporary bill imposing harsher penalties for honour killings.

But parliament recently voted to dissolve the bill.

Amman 'honour killer' gets one year
01 Jun 03  |  Middle East
Jordanian women fight 'honour killings'
23 Jan 02  |  Middle East
Royals lead honour killing protest
14 Feb 00  |  Middle East
Country profile: Jordan
17 Jul 03  |  Country profiles

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