Jordanian Female Inmates Prefer to Stay in Jail

Published July 8th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Dozens of Jordanian women prisoners have chosen to stay in jail after serving their sentences because they fear for their safety if they return home, according to a Jordan Times report. 

The Jordanian English daily quoted a police official as saying that about 35 of the recently-completed facility's 214 inmates were being held in protective custody for fear of what their families might do to them.  

She said the 35 included both women convicted of criminal offences, and those who had been raped, become pregnant out of wedlock, or who had allegedly been involved in an extramarital affair.  

"Some of these women have been in prison for 11 years and they cannot leave," said Major Ibtissam Dhmour, a senior female prison official. 

Dhmour’s remarks came at a lecture she delivered at the Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI), on the lives of female inmates in Jordan.  

Many families refuse to receive the ex-inmates back home, because these relatives feel ashamed of having a female convicted criminal in their household, she said.  

Of those not convicted of crimes, some had been raped, accused of extra-marital affairs or become pregnant out of wedlock.  

The BBC.online said correspondent that, in Jordan's conservative society, a family's reputation can rest on the sexual behavior of its women and even being the victim of rape is considered shameful.  

The newspaper said there were even cases of daughters being allowed out of prison on bail, only to be killed to cleanse the family honour.  

Under Jordanian law, a man who kills a female relative walks free if he has "discovered her committing adultery" and receives a reduced penalty if he kills her after finding her in an "adulterous situation" – (Several Sources)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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