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Ramallah court extends remand of 7 gang rape suspects

July 7, 2013 2:20 P.M. (Updated: July 9, 2013 6:03 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A magistrates' court near Ramallah on Sunday extended the remand of four men accused of raping a teenage girl, days after extending the remand of three men suspected of participating in the same crime.

Seven men were detained in June and accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl in an apartment in Birzeit, judicial sources told Ma'an.

At a court in Birzeit on Sunday, the judge rejected requests by lawyers to release four of suspects. He ordered them to remain in custody for 15 days.

Last week, the same court extended the remand of the three other suspects.

According to a judicial official, one of the suspects contacted the girl on Facebook and invited her to his apartment, where he and six of his friends sexually assaulted her multiple times.

The suspects are aged between 17 and 26, the official said.

Jordan's penal code of 1960 is still in force in the West Bank. Article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victim and remain married for three years if the crime is a misdemeanor, or five years for a felony.

If the perpetrator divorces the victim before the end of the term, legal proceedings resume and he will be sentenced.

President Mahmoud Abbas ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2009, but has not made any significant legal reforms to protect women.

In 2012, Abbas' legal adviser Hassan al-Ouri told Ma'an that CEDAW would only be implemented "so long as it doesn’t contravene Islamic code."

"Look, we are for total equality but if there is a basic tenet of Islamic code that we would be forced to change under CEDAW, then people would revolt and brand us as non-believers," al-Ouri said.
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