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House Speaker proposes life for hate crimes against women

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Cyprus’ first female parliamentary speaker, Annita Demetriou, has re-tabled a proposal to have the specific charge of femicide added to the criminal code and carry a life sentence for the perpetrators.

After receiving feedback from her colleagues at the House Legal Committee on her original proposal tabled last November, she re-submitted it.

According to the proposal, a person who causes the death of a woman by an illegal act or omission is guilty of femicide and is punishable by life imprisonment.

In cases of femicide, the Court will consider as aggravating factors any acts of violence committed by a life partner, misogynistic motivation, domestic violence, violence exercised due to religious beliefs, violence exercised due to sexual orientation or gender determination, or sex trafficking.

The proposed change of the Criminal 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.

In recent comments to the Financial Mirror, 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.

Two Russian women were found buried at a holiday home in Limassol after being murdered in November.

Last week, Cyprus authorities commemorated the first year of operation of The Home for Women refuge.

At a ceremony held to mark the occasion, President Nicos Anastasiades said the home handled over 450 cases of female victims of violence during its first year of a pilot operation.