Monday 18 October 2021

A woman is murdered every week in Costa Rica

Limón, Alajuela and San José register the majority of cases of revenge, domestic violence and collateral deaths

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QCOSTARICA – With only days before the completion of eight months of the year, 36 women had died from homicide, the equivalent of one victim per week. If this average is maintained, at the end of 2021 the statistics would record 54 murdered women.

If the trend continues, there would be a slight decrease relative to 2020, which had a total of 62.

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However, there are still several cases that are under investigation by the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), findings of bodies where a homicidal death is presumed, but forensic confirmation is lacking.

The 36 deaths this year represent 10% of all homicides.

The remaining 90% – 333 – are men.

August, up to Friday, registers a total of six murdered women, making it the third month so far with the most victims, only surpassed by February and May, which had seven each.

The most recent death was that of the Asian merchant Xingmei Wu, shot by four assailants in their attack on the Supermercado Excelente, where she worked with her husband, who was injured in the leg when h tried to oppose the assault.

On August 17, in Muelle de San Carlos, where after five days of searching for Evelyn Díaz Gutiérrez, 21, she was found floating in the Peñas Blancas River, with 35 stab wounds. Three days later, police arrested a suspect, a 31-year-old neighbor named Chavarría.

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Among the happened by chance cases is the death of a young mother who was killed in the middle of a crossfire in Cariari de Pococí, when a group of assailants attacked a remittance truck on May 15.

The victim was Sharon Hernández Alpízar, 19, the mother of a two-year-old, whom she protected from the bullets that day, losing her life in the shooting.

Other femicides, 11 in total, make the province of Limón one that so far registers the most murdered women, followed by Alajuela (8) and San José (6).

Domestic violence is also often the cause that each year generates murders of women. Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 58 women died per year.

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Last Monday, at Casa Presidencial, a law was signed that broadened the definition of femicides, so that the penalties will be much stronger against those who end a woman’s life, whether or not they are her sentimental partner.

This is article 21 bis of the Ley de Penalización de la Violencia Contra las Mujeres (Law on Criminalization of Violence Against Women), which provides penalties of 20 to 35 years in prison for those who, in addition to domestic violence, kill women for revenge or drug trafficking and other related crimes.

Read more: Families of Femicide Victims Unite to Call for Stronger Sentences

Family members, friends, work or study colleagues, religious guides and even unrequited suitors are exposed to this penalty who, taking advantage of the closeness with the victim and dissatisfied with some attitude, cause death.




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