When will Kuwait abolish Article 153?

"Good example is easily followed," is one of the many sayings in the Dutch language. In Kuwait, people do not know this old Dutch expression and value primarily the knowledge found in ancient "holy" books. That is why the Kuwaiti authorities once introduced articles of law 153 and 182, which are exactly in line with the "holy" writings. The result is a particularly low prison sentence of only 3 years and/or a low fine of 39 euros for killing a wife, daughter or sister when she has done something wrong, such as commit adultery.

Kuwaiti authorities are struggling to follow the good example of Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Lebanon, which have already opted to abolish these types of unfair special laws aimed at lowering the penalties for killing or mistreating women. These countries argued that they wanted to bring their laws more in line with those of the international community.

Human rights activists point out that the perceived chance of being caught and the level of punishment play a role in the practice of honor killings. In Iran, there are stories of fathers who consulted a criminal lawyer before the murder of their daughter to get confirmation that the penalty for killing a daughter is only 3 years.

If the authorities in Kuwait and Iran really want to combat honor killings effectively, it is necessary that they first abolish all special laws designed to protect honor killers from receiving fair sentences.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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