Syria: Honour killing law amended
Justice Minister Ahmad Hamoud Younis said the change was made by the decree of President Bashar al-Assad, following a recent increase in "wife-killings... on the pretext of adultery".
The new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour "provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing".
The legislation covers any man who "unintentionally" kills his wife, sister, daughter or mother after catching her committing adultery or having unlawful sex. It also covers cases where the woman's lover is killed.
Reports say women's rights activists have given a cautious welcome to the change, with one group calling it a "small contribution to solving the problem".
Their objection remains, however, that the new law still apparently invites men to murder women if they catch them having sex or suspect them of doing so.
2 July 2009
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