The new law specifies that a prison sentence of 20 to 35 years will be imposed when the person responsible for the murder of a woman.
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Published on Tuesday, August 24, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Monday, President Carlos Alvarado signed a law that establishes the extension of prison years to a maximum of 35 years for people found guilty of femicide.

The extension of the sentence was recently approved on Aug. 12 in Congress.

"The signing of this law increases and strengthens the legal tools to punish the different types and degrees of violence against women, offering more protection to victims, witnesses and complainants of gender violence in our country," President Alvarado said.

The new law specifies that a prison sentence of 20 to 35 years will be imposed when the person responsible for the murder of a woman has taken advantage of a relationship or bond of trust, friendship, kinship, authority or a power relationship they had with the victim.

The same punishment also applies when the act had occurred within family relations of consanguinity or affinity up to the third degree.

The same prison sentences apply when the perpetrator has a history of violence against the female victim, whether in the family, work, student, community or religious spheres, even when the facts have not been reported.

The sanctions can also be ordered when the aggressor is a sexually exploiting client, trafficker or pimp of the female victim; when the female victim has refused to establish or reestablish a permanent or casual relationship or relationship with the aggressor, or to have any type of sexual contact.

The punishment will also be applied when the perpetrator commits the act to prepare, facilitate, consummate or hide a sexual offense. This also includes when he has committed the act of using the victim as an act of revenge, retaliation or debt collection in organized crimes of drug trafficking and related crimes. The law will also protect women when the act has occurred due to the participation, position or political activity of the female victim.

According to statistics from the Gender Violence Observatory, from 2007 to 2019, there were a total of 355 deaths of women at the hands of their husbands or partners. In 2020, 23 cases were registered.

What should the authorities do to protect more women in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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