Egyptian MP Amal Salama (photo: Khaled Mashaal)
Egyptian MP Amal Salama said she will request amending an article on battering in the Egyptian penal code to explicitly set penalties against husbands who beat their wives to up to five years in prison.
The proposal is meant to protect Egyptian families and prevent domestic violence, particularly violence against women, Salama told the media on Tuesday.
Wife battering specified in the draft would be defined as the act that causes permanent disability, she explained.
Around 46 percent of married women aged 18 to 64 years in Egypt have experienced some form of spousal violence, whether physical, emotional or sexual in 2015, according to a survey conducted by Egypt's official statistic body the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, the National Council of Women and the United Nations Fund for Population Agency.
The Egyptian penal code, which punishes battering in general with jail sentences and fines, does not explicitly criminalise wife battering.
Article 240 of the penal code sets a penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of EGP 200 for battering, and a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of EGP 300 for those who injure or beat others in a manner that results in injuries or permanent disability.
Salama will propose an amendment that shall mandate "detention for a period of no less than three years and not more than five years" against husbands who injure or beat their wives.
Salama, who won her seat in the House of Representatives as part of the Mostaqbal Watan Party-led National Unified List, said family violence extends beyond inflicting harm on the family to affect society.
She added that violence against women violates Article 11 of the Egyptian constitution which ensures equality between men and women.
Salama argued that Islamic Sharia, a main source of legislation in Egypt, prohibits any degradation for women.
The MP said she does not mind generalising the proposed punishment to become against women and men for the sake of equality.
The government and the National Council of Women have in recent years launched several initiatives to combat violence against women.