Portugal: judge protects wife-beaters
A controversy has ignited in Portugal over Joaquim Neto de Moura, a judge who has repeatedly given men who committed acts of domestic violence against women lenient and even suspended sentences. The judge has justified his lenience quoting the bible, arguing that women who commit adultery deserved such treatment. Is Portugal still in the Dark Ages when it comes to domestic violence?
Update duty for old-school judges
Judges like Neto de Moura shouldn't be allowed to exercise their office in this way, argues Público:
“On a global scale four times as many women die as a result of gender violence than in terrorist attacks. In Portugal 33 women per year on average are murdered under such circumstances. While the overall murder rate is going down, the number of murders of women is going up. ... Should a judge be guided by prejudices and outdated notions? ... Or is it his duty to possess a minimum amount of scientific knowledge (sociological, historical, psychological) that protects him from ridiculous justifications for his sentences such as 'infidelity and sexual immorality'? Does the duty to update your own knowledge apply only for doctors, teachers and social workers whose actions have a direct impact on the lives of citizens and their relationship to the state, or for judges too?”
Bible quotes have no place in judges' decisions
Writing in Díario de Notícias, author Nuno Artur Silva is also shocked by the state of affairs in modern Portugal:
“I read the news and it's pretty sad: the number of victims of domestic violence in Portugal, the attacks, the deaths. In our modern times women are still being murdered without our society protecting them. Domestic violence. These two words should be mutually exclusive, but sadly they aren't. On top of this sad news about the Portuguese reality comes another that should force us into action rather than sitting back in resignation. There is a judge who bases his decisions, in which he has repeatedly justified violence by men against women, on quotes from the bible.”