Many people have been recently speaking about honor killings in Islamic countries and the culture behind them, because of a horrific tragedy that happened in another country earlier this week. There is no question about how wrong and ill the actions of murder are, for whatever the reason may be. There is no question that what they did would be illegal.
Since this important topic has been brought to the attention of many, I wanted to take this chance to speak up about an issue that we are currently facing in Kuwait. The State of Kuwait has always been more forward with women rights than any of the countries in the region.
Women got their rights to vote, got their right to be parliament members and ministers, as well as, hopefully soon, to be judges. With that said, there is one particular Article of law that everyone has been campaigning against, Article 153 of the Kuwait Penal Code.
According to article 153 of Kuwait’s penal code, if a man catches a female member of his family in a “sexual (zina) act with a man and kills her or him or both, [it] will be treated as a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of three years jail time and/or a fine.”
Three years and a fine, while the act will just be a misdemeanor, is quite drastically less of a punishment of what a man or woman may receive for another murder. The murderer has to be in a state of anger and shock, and he has to walk in on the action. If the murderer walks out after seeing a woman in a sexual act and goes to grab a weapon, then the court may see it that he was no longer in a state of shock as he had the option to change his mind. So this does not apply to men seeing a post on Instagram of their daughters, wives, sisters etc with another man. The article is very specific to a situation, and of course I think the article should be abolished. I understand that the woman’s act in that case is punishable by law, as any sex outside of marriage is punishable by law for both men and women equally, but that does not give men an excuse to kill someone.
I would like to mention that you have probably heard a lot about Abolish 153 because there is a movement under that name, which has really worked hard to bring awareness to the matter. The movement not only aims to bring about legal change and abolish the article, but to also provide support to those affected by the law. They are also very creative, bringing awareness to their cause through exhibitions and other fun events. You can check them out at abolish153.org.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmad