Colombia's highest court hands down first femicide conviction

Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:34pm EDT
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By Anastasia Moloney

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Colombian Sandra Patricia Correa survived numerous brutal beatings and nine stab wounds at the hands of her estranged husband before he threatened to kill her.

On Friday nights Alexander de Jesus Ortiz would turn up drunk at Correa's home, threaten to take away their young daughter, and yell in the street: "Dirty bitch, I'm going to kill you."

Three years later, when Correa, 35, agreed to meet him in Colombia's second city of Medellin, he carried out his threat, stabbing her in the chest in a motel room in November 2012.

In a country where an average of two women are killed every day, Correa's death might have gone unnoticed.

But earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that she was a victim of femicide - the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender - an historic judgment that has set a precedent and encouraged women's rights campaigners.

In the first case of its kind in Colombia, the Supreme Court sentenced Ortiz to 18 years in prison for femicide, overturning a lower court ruling that the killing was a crime of passion, motivated by jealousy.

"This is not a love story but the crushing of a woman by a man who considered her to be his subordinate ..." the Court said.

Just two days ago Brazil passed a law against femicide, the 16th Latin American nation to approve similar legislation in recent years.   Continued...