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'Domestic violence OK, it says so in the Bible,' rule Oporto appeal judges

upsetwomanAn extraordinary case that reveals some judges' legal thinking is rooted in Mediaeval interpretations of the Bible has seen a woman who had an affair, subsequently being violently attacked with a nail-spiked club by her husband and her lover, escape jail with suspended sentences and fines - the legal equivalent of a 'slap on the wrist.'

The Oporto court of appeal upheld an earlier judgement that the violence suffered was all the woman’s fault as she was the one who had erred from the righteous path of matrimonial fidelity.

The appeal ruling, written by Judge Neto de Moura and co-signed by Maria Luísa Abrantes, read that the man’s honour had been seriously damaged by the woman's behaviour and, anyway, he had been depressed at the time of the attack.

Concerned at the sentences, the State demanded an appeal to have them reviewed. This appeal has been lost, with the judgment citing the Bible and the Portuguese Penal Code of 1886, which allows for little more than a symbolic penalty, even if a husband actually kills his adulterous wife.

The Oporto judgment darkly warns that "there are societies in which the adulterous woman is stoned to death" and that adultery of the woman is "a very serious attack on the honour and dignity of the man," and that “in the Bible, we can read that an adulterous woman should be punished with death.”

Incredibly, in C21st Portugal, the judges' summary went further and included a character assassination of the woman from Felgueiras, adding that "a woman committing adultery is a false, hypocritical, dishonest, disloyal, futile, immoral person. In short, she lacks moral probity. It is not surprising that she resorts to deception, farce, lies to hide her disloyalty," hence, the inference is, it is OK for the husband to assault her.

The judgment, that takes women's rights back decades, already has spread across Portuguese  social media to international audiences.

In an interview on TSF, the sociologist Isabel Ventura criticises the judgment that justifies domestic violence by the use of biblical passages.

"It seems clear to me that in this case, the Court disregarded the Istanbul Convention*, which Portugal signed, ratified and implemented," said Ventura.

The judgment justifies the light sentences by referring to the adultery of the woman displaying conduct that society has always condemned and that "there may be some understanding in the face of violence by men that have been betrayed, vexed and humiliated by women."

Ventura says that the facts reported in the ruling describe extreme violence which the judges excuse and play down the role of the men who persecuted, kidnapped and violently attacked the woman.

Isabel Ventura says that the judgment legitimises violence, “I think we can say that nobody or almost nobody, would accept that a man could murder his wife because she had an extramarital affair. It seems to me extremely serious and very worrying that an institution of justice reproduces such anachronistic ideas in 2017."

Demonstrations againt the appeal ruling already are being planned in Oporto and Lisbon.


* Istanbul Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is based on the understanding that violence against women is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women.

It is the obligation of the State to fully address it in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators.

Failure to do so would make it the responsibility of the State.

The convention leaves no doubt: there can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye.


+1 #7 Lucy Raffat 2017-10-27 18:15
Portuguese judges Joaquim Neto de Melo and his co-signer Maria Luisa Abrantes are clearly unfit and mentally unstable to work in the public sector.
Hopefully the Portuguese state will have these two individuals psychologically assessed,and no matter the outcome of the results have these individuals removed from dealing with the public and immediately removed from the courts!!
It is about time the Portuguese citizens stand up for their rights.
We will continue to follow up with this case.
+3 #6 Neil M 2017-10-25 22:13
I think this lady from Porto would be within her rights to appeal the Court decision and if the Judges decision is not overturned then she can bring her case to the European Court of Justice.
+1 #5 E. Welch 2017-10-25 19:50
This is absolutely outrageous on so many levels. Using archaic law, quoting 'stories' from the Bible (the Bible!!), double standards for men and women. Outrageous. I sure hope enough people attend the demonstration that is arranged later this week in Lisbon. I would go if I lived there! These judges clearly do not understand how to correctly apply the law. Neto de Moura and Maria Luisa Abrantes (is this judge actually a female???) need to be fired immediately. Disgusting. I can't even say how disgusting this is. Clearly a pair who still live in the stone ages - what a great thing for society today. They should not hold any kind of power.
+1 #4 Steve.O 2017-10-24 18:52
A Convention which Portugal signed, ratified and implemented. We remind our readership that Portugal has been signing and ratifying Conventions,Agreements and Treaties for centuries - just NOT IMPLEMENTING them!
As the Convention stated - Implementation (in English) means that the (State) "take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators".
Given that so many, particularly first children, are born out of wedlock or fathered by local VIP's or even to close family members in Portugal; sexual relationships have always been a very confused situation. Particularly as, given the wording above, she was attacked by both her husband and lover! We must look forward to the first court case of a man beaten up by his wife and lover for straying.
+3 #3 C Saunders 2017-10-24 10:20
Is this serious? Surely the judgement must be overturned
+7 #2 Maria Clarke 2017-10-23 21:38
I see, so does that work both ways. If the husband cheats can the wife beat him?? Or is that not supported by the Bible? My advice is don't marry.
+7 #1 Richard 2 2017-10-23 18:51
Sharia law is now in force in Portugal?