Adultery and the law

In Egyptian law, which constitutionally draws on shari‘a as its principal (but not exclusive) source, the penalty for adultery is less severe than in shari‘a per se, but also unequally distributed: convicted wives can get up to two years in prison, no matter where they have their affair, whereas husbands are sentenced to a maximum of sex months in jail, and the sex has to happen in the marital home for any charge brought by their wives to stick.  The double standard also applies to “crimes of passion” in which a man who catches his wife in flagrante delicto and murders both parties is exempt from murder charges, whereas the law offers no such relief for women who do the same. Many other countries in the region come down heavier on women than men in the case of extramarital relations; Jordan, however, has equalized the law to both sexes. In practice, courts across the region prefer to see such matters resolved in private.