QCOSTARICA – Relatives of victims of femicide demonstrated in front of the San José Courts of Justice building, with banners and white T-shirts with photos of their loved ones, to demand stronger sentences against those who commit the horrendous crimes.
“Our mourning is constant and will not end until the day justice is served. Every day we feel a great emptiness, but we are filled with being here asking for justice for them and that those sentences are raised.
“It is not fair that a person who has done so much damage is benefited with that sentence and that the judges say that our loved ones did not suffer, that makes them promote more murderers and we do not want more femicides,” said Xiomara Vásquez, Allison Bonilla’s aunt.
Allison Bonilla’s murderer was last week sentenced to 18 years in prison, a sentence Allison’s family and other families of victims of femicide consider that the sentences were too light.
The demonstration began after 8 am Monday, united Óscar Morera, Eva Morera’s father; Patricia Zamora, mother of Luany Salazar; Yendry Vásquez, mother of Allison Bonilla and Flora Chinchilla, mother of Natali Madriz, to mention some of the members surviving femicide.
In addition, the group were out in support of other families who are still awaiting a trial, as in the case of Natali Madriz, murdered in June 2019.
“We feel abandoned, we feel that the murderers have more support than we do, the (femicide) cases are not given the importance they should and we do not want more families to suffer this pain,” said Flora Chinchilla, Natali’s mother.
Law will expand punishment
On Monday, President Carlos Alvarado signed a law that expands the concept of femicide and that establishes sentences of up to 35 years in prison.
Several members of the group Families Surviving Femicide were present at the activity, such as Luany Salazar’s mother and Eva Morera’s father.
With this new law, the deaths of women at the hands of men with whom they had a bond of trust, friendship or relationship, will be considered as femicide, this will also apply to family relationships up to the third degree of consanguinity.
“The signing of this law broadens and strengthens the legal tools to punish the different types and degrees of violence against women, offering greater protection to victims, witnesses and complainants of the scourge of gender violence in our country,” said the president.
Marcela Guerrero, Minister of the Condición de la Mujer, explained that now it is possible to punish femicides without any relationship with the victim, since before it was only considered femicide if the crime was committed by the husband or the man with whom she was maintaining a de facto relationship, thus the former partner was not taken into account in this type of crime.
“This law settles a historical debt with women, does justice to the families who are victims of femicide and faces impunity by ensuring that the full weight of the law falls against anyone who kills women for the fact of being a woman,” said Guerrero.
Óscar Morera recognized the signing of this law as a very important step in their struggle but pointed out that it is only the beginning.
“It is important that we have changed the law because now the legal tool exists, but it is important that we realize that if the justice system does not understand and treat these hate crimes against women as what they are, the sentences will go to continue being very soft,” Morera said.