Eritrean: Two Women or Go to Jail

Eritrea: Two women or go to jail

Eritrea: Two women or go to jail

It is now a crime for any Eritrean man to marry only one wife. Going by the recent directive of the Eritrean government, any man who declines will have to spend the rest of his life in jail. In a statement issued in Arabic last Thursday, by the Grand Mufti, the highest official of religious law in Eritrea, the government said all men must marry more than one wife or risked being jailed with hard labour. The government, however, assured that it would be financially responsible for the marriage ceremonies and their accommodation after the wedding. The statement reads: “Based on the law of God in polygamy, and given the circumstances which the country is experiencing in terms of men shortage, the Eritrean department of Religious Affairs has decided on the following: “First that every man shall marry at least two women and the man who refuses to do so shall be subjected to life imprisonment with hard labour. “The woman who tries to prevent her husband from marrying another wife shall be punished by life imprisonment.”

The government hinged the basis for the directive on the acute shortage of men occasioned by causalities during the civil war with Ethiopia.

More than 150,000 Eritrean soldiers were killed during the secession war from Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. At the time, Eritrea had about four million people.

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