Casablanca - The Mauritanian government has ratified a bill titled “Gender Violence” that that would punish husbands who insult their wives with a two-year sentence and give the death penalty to married men involved in rape.
Casablanca – The Mauritanian government has ratified a bill titled “Gender Violence” that that would punish husbands who insult their wives with a two-year sentence and give the death penalty to married men involved in rape.
After the bill passed to the House of Senates in the Mauritanian parliament, the latter’s smaller chamber, the General Assembly, refused to pass it after its Committee for Islamic Affairs objected to 7 items due to their inconsistence with Sharia Law.
According to the Arabic-language news website CNN Arabic, the bill consists of 74 articles divided into 4 chapters. Article 14 gives a prison sentence that could range from 10 days to 2 years to “whoever insults his wife using degrading words that can affect the dignity or honor.”
Article 14 of this proposed law also punishes unmarried rapists with hard labor, prison and lashes. If the rapist is married, however, the article punishes him by death.
Other controversial articles are articles 19 and 2 of the drafted law. The first punishes people indulging in sexual harassment by up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to USD 560. According to the same article, punishment for this crime could amount to up to 3 years of jail time if the victim is a housemaid.
The bill defines sexual harassment as “any word, act, taunt, suggestion, indication or behavior with a sexual connotation or based on sex, taking into account the real or alleged sexual activity of a woman in order to violate her rights and dignity, and creating a frightening, hostile, humiliating or flagrant reality.”
Article 2 states that a punishment of up to two years in jail is given to whoever prevents his partner from exercising her general freedoms.
The Mauritanian public, however, has criticized the law as “inconsistent with Sharia Law.” The Executive office of the Organization of Mauritanian Scholars released a communiqué on Thursday 5 condemning the drafted law and calling on the Mauritanian president to intervene.