Up to fifty years in prison would be served by those who use acid to attack another person and cause any type of deformity or permanent damage.
This was approved on Wednesday by the Senate after the last bill’s debate, which toughens the punishments against those who attack others with these substances.According to the initiative’s panelists’ coordinator, Roosevelt Rodríguez, the project contemplates the creation of the autonomous offense of aggression with acid and raises the punishment for those who commit it. (Read also: “Natalia Ponce’s True Image”)
“Today the maximum penalty, with all the aggravating circumstances, does not exceed 25 or 26 years, with what we approved, the penalty will now go up to 50 years,” Rodriguez explained.Although the approved presentation says that the maximum penalty will be 30 years if deformities or permanent damage are caused, it can be raised to 50 if the attack is against a woman or a minor, in which case the penalty is doubled. In addition to this, the aggressors will have to pay fines between 644 million and 1,932 million pesos.
The project to punish more severely those aggressors who use acid, known as the Natalia Ponce Law, had to overcome several obstacles in its processing. The Criminal Policy Council, which regulates the balance of prison sentences in the country, expressed several objections to the initiative. (Also: “I don’t feel hate, the most important thing is to heal the soul”: said by Natalia Ponce)
This, among other considerations, led Senator Rodriguez to propose the collapse of the project in the First Committee of the Senate, just as it was about to enter its third debate. However, with the struggle of organizations such as the Natalia Ponce de León Foundation, they succeeded in rescuing the initiative.
Natalia herself, one of the most known victims of this scourge, after the initiative was approved, mentioned this Wednesday to newspaper: “EL TIEMPO” that the project moved forward “thanks to the support provided by different sectors.”
“Thank you to Congress for listening to us and understanding that this type of aggression is not a simple personal injury, but a clear attempt to end our lives. Now it is up to the Prosecutor and the judges to act accordingly and prevent these cases from remaining in impunity, as is happening, ” Natalia said.
The celebration of the “Day of Nonviolence Against Women” was also influential in the approval of the project. Taking advantage that last night in the Senate there was an act on this, Senator Rodriguez said it would be a great “tribute” for women if Congress endorsed this initiative and in a matter of two minutes it was approved.
Another transcendental point of the ruling is the sanction for those who illegally market these substances.
Regarding this matter, Senator Rodriguez confirmed the inclusion that “those who commercialize, store, save and possess acids illegally, will be subjected to criminal proceedings”, this means they will be committing a crime.
The representative to the Chamber for the “Movement Mira Carlos Guevara”, one of the authors of the initiative, confirmed that this was a “triumph” for the victims of this problem and that their presence in the debate was decisive.
Guevara added that according to Legal Medicine figures, “in the last four years there have been more than 1,000 acid aggressions that have not been reported.”
The initiative passes to its conciliation to both the Senate and to the House sometime next week. Then, it would follow to the presidential sanction, which gives the victims of this crime, one more weapon to defend themselves. Taken from newspaper “EL TIEMPO”