Women’s rights groups in Portugal are calling for protests after judges upheld a light sentence for a man who attacked his ex-wife with a nail-spiked club because she’d committed adultery.
The woman’s ex-husband and ex-lover jointly assaulted her in 2015 — the ex-lover kidnapped her and held her down while the husband attacked her with a bat spiked with nails — and the husband received a light sentence of a $2,000 fine and a 15-month suspended prison sentence, on grounds that her adultery caused a “depressive state” and that in the Bible, “an adulteress should be punished with death.” The judges, one male and one female, even expressed empathy for the attackers, noting that adultery is “a very serious offense against a man’s honor and dignity.” The judges also cited an 1886 law that offered “symbolic” penalties for men who killed their adulterous wives.
The prosecutor, however, thought the husband’s sentence wasn’t harsh enough and sought to increase prison time to 3 years and 6 months, according to the Associated Press. The victim can still appeal the ruling to higher courts in Portugal, where violence against women has been a heated social issue for years.
The UMAR Women’s Union for Alternative and Response and the feminist movement Por Todas Nos both called for protests in the capital Lisbon on Friday, according to Reuters.