Ηouse Speaker wants femicide criminalised

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Cyprus’ first female House Speaker, Annita Demetriou, proposes the specific charge of femicide be added to the criminal code and carry a maximum life sentence for the perpetrators.

She told the House Legal Affairs Committee that parliament should lead the way to protect and safeguard human rights and abolish stereotypes.

Demetriou said femicide is the most extreme form of gender violence.

The proposed change of the penal code aims to strengthen the legal armoury of the Republic so that it becomes compatible with its obligation for the abolition of violence and discrimination against women.

“Today, we make a huge step for women’s rights, for the protection of human rights and for addressing a phenomenon that has increased, especially during the pandemic.”

She said Cyprus is the first country to criminalise sexism, adding that it can also lead the way on femicide.

The politician proposes that sex-based hate crimes against women be included in the criminal code and carry a life sentence.

Director of the Association for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Andri Andronikou said that 2,147 violent incidents were reported last year.

Some 880 involved increased domestic violence against women in the last three months, 407 were death threats, 322 were related to violence using a gun or other weapon, and 129 were strangulation attempts.

Susana Pavlou, Head of the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), said that between 2010-2016 there were 28 femicide incidents, 75% related to domestic violence.

According to Pavlou, between 2019-2020, Cyprus reported 13 femicides, including two children, the majority of the perpetrators were male and Cypriots.

It includes army captain Nikos Metaxas, 35, serving life terms for the premeditated murder and kidnapping of five women and two children.