Social media accounts circulated a post claiming that the law in Egypt gives whoever kidnaps a girl for 72 hours the right to marry her. However, these allegations are not true, and Egyptian laws impose severe penalties in similar cases.
The brief post, which was widely circulated by Egyptian accounts on Twitter and Facebook, said, “Kidnappe your loved one for 72 hours, and the law will marry her to you, according to Article 395.”
The circulation of this post in the past months came in light of legal discussions and controversies on Egyptian accounts on communication sites regarding women’s rights in the country’s laws.
The publication also came after a series of crimes during the past year, in which young Egyptian men killed young women because they refused to marry them. Death sentences have been passed in a number of these cases.
In this context, although many users dealt with these publications in a sarcastic manner, many others took them seriously.
In view of this, Egyptian websites and platforms refuted this news, which is feared to encourage violence, such as the “Motassadeq” platform, which is specialized in responding to misleading news in Egypt, which reviewed the harsh penalties in Egyptian law for those who commit kidnapping.
“What is stated in these publications is misleading,” Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist Ahmed Abul-Magd told the Fact-Finding Service of Agence France-Presse.
He added, “There is no article in the Egyptian Penal Code bearing No. 395 that talks about the kidnapper’s relationship with the kidnapped woman.”
He continued, “The only article close to what the post promotes was number 291, and Egypt adopted it in 1904 from French law before it was abolished (..) and it exempted the rapist from punishment if he married the victim.”
Article 291 of the Egyptian law was repealed in 1999.
In light of the fear that this publication would be a factor encouraging kidnapping in order to facilitate marriage, Egyptian human rights defender Ahmed Samih, director of the Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, stressed that kidnapping in law is “a crime, even if it is motivated by emotional justifications.”
“The law does not marry anyone through coercion, and international human rights conventions deal with women on the basis that they are among the groups that need support and advocacy,” he told AFP.
He added, “The post aims to mislead people, amid economic conditions that made marriage difficult (…) The information in the post is not correct, the logic is not disciplined, and the law does not allow.”