On June 26, 2023, the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, approved Law No. 7 of 2023, which repeals article 353 of Decree Law No. 15 of 1967 on the Penal Code. The new law was published in the Bahraini official gazette on the same day.
Article 353 of penal code allowed offenders to avoid prosecution if they married their victim.
Bahrain’s parliament has voted to abolish a law exempting rapists from punishment if they marry their victim.
The move was welcomed by women’s rights activists, who fought for years against the legislation.
Bahrain’s upper house of parliament, the Shoura Council, unanimously voted to remove Article 353 from the country’s penal code. It allowed those who committed rape or to avoid punishment if they married the victim.
Bahrain is the latest country in the Middle East and North Africa region to abolish laws or amend penal codes that have allowed rapists to avoid prosecution by simply pledging to marry their victims.