By Barry Hatton
Women’s rights groups in Portugal have reacted angrily to a court decision that quoted the Bible and a 19th-century law in justifying a suspended sentence for a man convicted of assaulting his ex-wife with a bat because she allegedly committed adultery.
The man was given a 15-month suspended sentence and a fine of 1,750 euros ($2,000) for using a bat spiked with nails to assault the woman in the street in 2015, leaving her covered in cuts and bruises.
The prosecutor had argued the sentence was too lenient and asked an appeals court for prison time of 3 years and 6 months. But the appeal judges on Oct. 11 rejected his request.
In their written ruling, the judges expressed “some understanding” for the attacker, saying a woman’s adultery is “a very serious offense against a man’s honor and dignity.”
They noted the Bible says an adulterous woman should be punished by death and also cited a 1886 Portuguese law that gave only symbolic sentences to men who killed their wives for suspected adultery.
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