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Abbas publishes legal amendment ‎against perpetrators of hate crimes ‎against women

     ‎“[PA] Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ‎published a legally binding decree ‎amending Article 98 of the [Palestinian] ‎Penal Law No. 12 of 1960. ‎
Hassan ‎ Al-Ouri, legal advisor to PA ‎President Mahmoud Abbas, said the ‎significance of this amendment was its ‎abrogation of mitigating circumstances in ‎cases in which the act is committed ‎against a woman for motives of what is ‎referred to as ‘family honor.’ According to ‎Al-Ouri, this means that the court has no ‎authority to invoke mitigating ‎circumstances [in the defendant’s favor] ‎when the victim is revealed to it [the court] ‎to be a woman, and when the crime was ‎committed for motives of what is referred to ‎as ‘family honor.’ … ‎
According to the amendment, which was ‎published by means of a [presidential] ‎decree, Article 98 of the [Palestinian] ‎Penal Law No. 12 of 1960 will read as ‎follows: ‘Mitigating circumstances shall ‎apply in cases in which the crime was ‎carried out in a state of extreme anger, as ‎a result of a serious and unjust act…’ The ‎amendment adds: ‘Mitigating ‎circumstances shall not be granted to the ‎perpetrator if the crime was committed ‎against a woman for motives of honor.’‎
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) ‎welcomed this decision. Baha Al-Saadi, ‎the [UN] HRC representative in the ‎Palestinian territories, told Reuters: ‘We ‎welcome this move, which we consider a ‎great step forward…’ He added that the ‎council had conducted a study of cases of ‎murder committed under the pretext of ‎honor, and had concluded that an ‎amendment of the law was necessary.‎
Al-Saadi explained: ‘There is an additional ‎article in the Penal Law that needs ‎amending: [the article that allows] the ‎victim’s family to waive its personal right ‎‎(i.e., waiving the right to compensation ‎from the murderer’s family, which is often ‎the same family as the victim’s).’ He also ‎said that the study showed that, in 60 of ‎the cases included in the study, the ‎murderer benefited from this article of the ‎law, which permits the waiving of the ‎personal right [of the victim’s family]. ‎
This decision came in the wake of a steep ‎rise in cases of femicide – most recently, ‎the murder of a woman by her husband in ‎a Shari’ah law court in Birzeit, north of ‎Ramallah, and the strangling to death of ‎another woman by her husband in one of ‎the refugee camps.”‎
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