Criminal Code

Sections 199(1) and 200 of Malta’s Criminal Code reduce the penalty for abduction if the perpetrator intends to marry the victim on abduction and exempts the perpetrator from prosecution and punishment if that person does in fact marry the person abducted.

Section 199. (1) Whosoever shall, by violence, abduct any person, with intent to abuse or marry such person, shall, on conviction, be liable, in the first case, to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years, with or without solitary confinement, and, in the second case, to imprisonment for a term from nine to eighteen months.

Section 200. (1) If the offender under the last preceding article shall within twenty-four hours voluntarily release the person abducted without having abused such person, and shall restore such person to the family, or to his or her place of custody, or shall convey such person to any other place of safety, the punishment shall be imprisonment for a term from one to three months.

(2) In such case, if the offender, after abducting a person, shall marry such person, he shall not be liable to prosecution, except on the complaint of the party whose consent, according to the civil laws, would be required for the marriage; and if the marriage takes place after the conviction, the penal consequences thereof shall cease and the party convicted shall, upon his application, be forthwith released by order of the court.


Section 14 of the Constitution of Malta: The State shall promote the equal right of men and women to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights and for this purpose shall take appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination between the sexes by any person, organisation or enterprise; the State shall in particular aim at ensuring that women workers enjoy equal rights and the same wages for the same work as men.

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