SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities and representatives of organizations fighting sexist violence on Thursday demanded the elimination of “infidelity” as a mitigating circumstance in cases of femicide committed in the South American country.
The demand comes after on Wednesday a court ruling was announced that found “infidelity” constituted an extenuating circumstance when assigning blame in the case of a man who tried to murder his wife with a pair of pruning shears.
The court in the northern city of Ovalle commuted the man’s sentence of five years in prison, replacing it with five years of probation.
Judges Cristian Alfonso and Claudio Weishaupt ruled that the defendant had “labored under a stimulus so powerful that naturally it caused a fit of blind rage,” given that – prior to carrying out the attack – “the infidelity of his spouse, to whom he had been married for 15 years and with whom he had two children, had been revealed.”
The incident occurred in July 2015, when the man began beating his wife and stabbing her with the pruning shears, fracturing her skull and causing injuries on other parts of her body.
The attacker only stopped when police, alerted by neighbors, entered the home and shot him.
The regional director of the National Women’s Service for Coquimbo, Marcela Carreño, asked for a change in the regulation to prevent this type of situation from recurring, an incident she said stemmed from a “male chauvinist culture” that must be overcome.
“There must be a revision of the articles, the regulations, the laws that – at this moment – are being enforced to be able to counteract these incidents and prevent them from recurring,” Carreño told the media.
Legislator Matias Walker also blasted the court’s decision.
“It seems to us that never should alleged infidelity be considered as an extenuating circumstance in criminal liability in a case of attempted femicide in the 21st Century. It seems to us to be a ruling more appropriate for the Islamic State or India,” he said.