The draft law containing an amendment for punishments connected with marrying minors has sparked major controversy in parliament, with MPs saying that this legislation cannot be approved and that it must be amended. MP Fadia Deeb said that this article must not be approved, and to do so would bring shame on the parliament because it authorizes families to enter into informal sale and trade marriage contracts. She expressed her support for MP Ashwaq Abbas, who believes that amending the Personal Status Law is better, because it was issued 68 years ago and does not have an item setting the marriage age. She added: “Unfortunately we are still implementing it.”
On Sunday, Parliament approved a draft law, including amendments of some items of the Penal Code issued by legislative decree number 148 that was set in 1949. The draft law strengthens punishments related to the settling of marriage contracts outside the relevant courts. In its first article, the draft law said that an imprisonment of a month to six months and a fine of 50,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds would be imposed on all those who conduct a marriage to a minor outside the relevant courts without approval of the guardian, and a fine of 25,000 to 50,000 pounds for all those who marry a minor outside the relevant courts with the guardian’s approval.
Justice Minister Hisham al-Shaar said that recently the phenomenon of customary marriage, which are held outside the legitimate courts, has spread, in an effort to circumvent the law and evade implementing its provisions. He said that this phenomenon was harmful to society, given its dangerous results on a personal and social level with regard to the individual and the family, as well as the problems that result from it in the future — especially with regard to the minor — which required this law to be prepared.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.