The Baabda prison for women. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
A previous version of this article mispelled Layla Awada's name. The Daily Star regrets this error.
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In practice, however, women face harsher punishments than men do under Lebanon's anti-adultery legislation, activists say.In 2014, with the passage of the country's first domestic violence law, the code on adultery was also amended, and men and women convicted of adultery now face the same potential punishment -- at least on paper.But an analysis of court cases in 2015 showed that in practice, women continued to be arrested at higher rates than men, says Lara Saade, a policy adviser to MP Sami Gemayel, who in 2016 proposed the removal of adultery from the criminal code altogether. Gemayel's 2016 proposal, which would have removed adultery from the penal code but left it in the personal status law as a cause for divorce, never moved forward.An Internal Security Forces representative did not respond to a request for statistics on the number of women and men arrested under the adultery law.Layla Awafa, an attorney for the women's rights group KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, says that in many cases women are prosecuted without hard evidence of an illicit sexual relationship.KAFA is pushing for an amendment to the law that would remove adultery completely from the criminal code.Others say that as long as the adultery law remains, both women and law enforcement officials should be educated about it to ensure true equality of application.
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