Posted by Christan Leonard on May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Colombian legislature raises penalties for acid attacks

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Colombia’s legislature approved a bill Tuesday which increased the severity of penalties for attacks carried out using acidic substances, reported newspaper El Espectador.

The bill, authored by representative Stella Gloria Diaz of Bogota, raised the maximum prison sentence to 20 years for those who commit acid attacks and also provides for protection and comprehensive care for victims.

The law states that attacks causing facial deformities are punishable for six to 12 years in prison, and a fine of no less than 50 minimum wage monthly salaries.

Attacks which lead to temporary, permanent functional or anatomical damage may carry a sentence of 13 to 20 years in prison and at least 60 monthly minimum wage salaries.

These penalties can be increased up to 50% if the victim is disfigured and their work depends on their public image.

In order to limit the availability of these easily-weaponized products, an initiative led by Senator Luis Fernando Velaso also established a regulatory board under the Ministry of Industry and Trade which will monitor and control the sale of acids and require consumers register their purchases.

The heinous effects of these attacks have caused significant public outcry, especially from women, who have been the primary targets of the attacks.

The attack on former Colombian beauty queen Maria Fernanda Nuñez in 2010 caused particular outrage because her assailant was never arrested based on the previous law, which stated victims must spend at least 30 days in recovery before the suspected attacker was taken into custody.