Crime & Justice

Mexico City lawmakers seek to condemn acid attacks with Malena Law

Mexico City, Jan 31 (EFE).- Lawmakers with the governing National Renewal Movement (Morena) on Tuesday presented to the Mexico City Legislative Assembly a bill called Malena’s Law whereby they are seeking to condemn acid attacks on women.

Legislator Marcela Fuente explained that the bill bears the name of saxophonist Maria Elena Rios, who was the victim of an attempted femicide in 2019 in an acid attack in the state of Oaxaca, adding that the bill is designed to impose fair sentences on the perpetrators of such attacks.

The law is structured so that an acid attack is defined in and of itself as an aggravated crime, she said “This is about demanding that the authorities make a law where there are fair sentences, where the cases don’t get hung up,” said Rios herself.

In addition, the bill includes punishing the perpetrators of such crimes with up to 12 years in prison.

“Whoever (attacks) another person, including women and trans people, or harms (a person’s) physical integrity or health, using any method, (or a) chemical, corrosive, toxic, flammable … substance to do that … will spend 8-12 years in prison,” Fuente said.

“Justice will be done when they listen to us … We want comprehensive reparations. We’re being criminalized by the very fact that we survived,” said Rios at a press conference at the Legislative Assembly before the presentation of the bill.

The musician acknowledged that this law is not intended only to bring justice for women who have already been attacked but also for those who may be attacked in the future.

According to figures from the Carmen Sanchez organization, over the past two decades at least 34 acid attacks have been perpetrated against women.

Rios said that the figures include only women who have reported such attacks, but many others never do so.

In addition, the saxophonist called for the resignation of judges who “torture” acid attack victims with lengthy and corrupt trials.

Beginning in March, discussion forums will be held that will be open to all politicians and to the victims of acid attacks to craft a solid law that really protects the rights of women.

Ten days ago, Judge Teodulo Pacheco ruled that the prison term of Juan Antonio Vera, Rios’s convicted attacker, should be changed to house arrest.

Vera has been held at the Tanivet prison in the southern state of Oaxaca since April 2020 for attempted femicide for ordering the acid attack on the young Mixtec woman in September 2019.

The hearing at which the judge altered the terms of incarceration caused the 29-year-old woman to suffer a physical and emotional breakdown, a situation that also affected her family.

The defense argued that Vera is in delicate health and needs specialized medical attention that he can only receive at home.

A week ago, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced that it would intervene in the investigation of Rios’s case and the Oaxaca government announced that a local judge had appealed the ruling to release the intellectual author of the attack from prison, seeking to ensure that he remains behind bars.

EFE –/bp

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