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Jalisco set to pass femicide legislation

May 21, 2012

Jalisco is on the verge of becoming the seventh Mexican state to treat femicide as a distinct crime and a more serious form of murder.

The Constitutional Issues Committee of the State Congress approved legal reforms on Monday that would mean a longer jail term for those convicted of fatal misogynist attacks. Sentences for murder can be as low as 12 years of imprisonment, but for cases of femicide this would be increased to a minimum of 20, up to 40 years.

The reforms to Article 232 of the Jalisco penal code must now be approved by the State Congress.

The new legislation defines femicide as the pre-meditated killing of a woman in an act “of hatred and misogyny.” This may be an “offense of a sexual nature” or a “homophobic attack,” entailing “signs of “degradation or humiliation.”

The initiative was put forward by Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) legislator Raul Vargas Lopez. It enjoys bipartisan support, with Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) also backing the new legislation.

“We have to eradicate violence against women,” said the former Guadalajara mayor,  who is now running for State governor. “I think this type of crime should have a lifetime sentence so these acts cannot be repeated.”

Violence against women is a serious problem in Mexico, a country long plagued by a machista society. Ciudad Juarez was notorious for femicide in the 1990s, while more recently the highest femicide rate was recorded in the State of Mexico, during the governorship of Enrique Peña Nieto, the frontrunner to become Mexico’s next president.

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