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Algeria passes new law criminalizes violence against women


04-11-2015 13:17 BJT

Algeria's parliament has passed a law criminalizing violence against women. The new law makes inflicting injury on one's spouse punishable with up to 20 years in prison, and allows a judge to hand down life sentences for domestic violence resulting in death.

The bill was passed in a vote attended by more than half of Algeria's 462 MPs, drawing the ire of some of the assembly's Islamists. Amnesty International has called for an amendment dropping a clause that allows the survivor of domestic violence to pardon the perpetrator. They described the clause as quote, "a dangerous precedent".

According to statistics published by local media, between 100 and 200 women die each year in instances of domestic violence in Algeria.

"Any woman who takes her husband to court means the end of their marriage .We can jail the husband for trivial reasons like psychological violence or verbal abuse because that also punishing the wife and the kids too," said Nasser Hamdadouche, Movement for Peace and Society Member of Parliament.

"I am surprised at the attitude of some of Representatives and also the position of some Algerians where they blame women because there is a law which protects them. This law is only to protect women from violence and it is not intended to break the law of family ties, there are a lot of women dying from violence. I want the law to be applied to on couples who abuse their wives whether the father, brother or husband," said Meriem Belaala, president of SOS Women in Distress.

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