Brazil: Justice bans the invocation of “honor killings” in femicide

The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to invoke the “honor crime” as a mitigating circumstance in cases of femicide.

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“The premise of legitimate defense of honor is unconstitutional because it contradicts the constitutional principles of human dignity, protection of life, and gender equality,” the court stated in a decision issued Friday evening.

Brazil recorded 1,326 femicide cases in 2019, a 7.8% increase over the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Brazilian Forum for Public Security, a non-governmental organization.

In 2017, a popular jury acquitting a man, Wagner Rosario Modesto, of attempting to murder his ex-wife, whom he had stabbed three times a year earlier in the city of Nova Era (Minas Gerais, southeast) sparked indignation.

His defense had called for “self-defense as an honor,” and the accused indicated that jealousy had blinded him when he saw a message on his ex-wife’s cell phone.

Another murder shocked the country in 1976 when Angela Deniz, a character in the Rio aircraft group, was shot by a businessman. The latter had been sentenced to two years in prison after he claimed he had “murdered for the sake of love”.

After a rally under the slogan “He who loves does not kill,” the man was retried and was eventually sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

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