German MPs approve ‘no means no’ rape law

German parliament votes on draft law entitled "improving the protection of sexual self-determination", in Berlin, on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2016
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German MPs approve ‘no means no’ rape law

BERLIN: German lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that will make it easier for victims of sex crimes to file criminal complaints if they rejected their attacker’s advances with a clear “no.”
The move was partly spurred by a nationwide outcry over a string of sexual assaults that happened in the western city of Cologne over New Year’s.
German law previously required victims to show that they physically resisted attack before charges for rape and other sexual assaults could be brought. Women’s rights campaigners argued that Germany’s failure to recognize the principle of “no means no” was one of the main reasons for low reporting and conviction rates for rape in the country.
“In the past, there were cases where women were raped but the perpetrators couldn’t be punished,”
German Minister for Women Manuela Schwesig said. “The change in the law will help increase the number of victims who choose to press charges, lower the number of criminal prosecutions that are shelved and ensure sexual assaults are properly punished.”
The bill passed easily thanks to the government’s large parliamentary majority. Opposition parties welcomed the lowering of the threshold for prosecutions, but criticized two measures in the bill that could see people who aren’t directly involved in the assault punished and foreigners deported for sexual harassment.
According to figures cited by Heiko Maas, the country’s justice minister, only one in 10 rapes in Germany is reported and just 8 percent of rape trials result in convictions.


British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

Updated 20 February 2019
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British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

  • The MP of the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship
  • Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians

A prominent British politician has called for Asma Assad, the British wife of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, to be stripped of her UK citizenship. 

The foreign affairs spokesman of the centrist party, the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship after her social media posts in support of her husband’s regime.

 “The first lady of Syria has acted not as a private citizen but as a spokesperson for the Syrian presidency... Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma Assad, either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of your citizenship,” Brake was cited by British daily the Guardian as saying.  

Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

She posted a message saying: “The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that what America has done is an irresponsible act that only reflects a short-sightedness, a narrow horizon, a political and military blindness to reality and a naive pursuit of a frenzied false propaganda campaign.”

Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, also joined the call to revoke her British nationality, calling Asma “very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes.”

Asma was born and raised in London to Syrian parents and left the UK in 2000 to live in Syria where she married Assad.