Mozambican former first lady Graca Machel’s daughter on Tuesday won a high-profile domestic violence case against her ex-boyfriend, a landmark victory in a country where abuse of women is growing.
Josina Machel lost the sight in her right eye in 2015 after she was savagely beaten by a Mozambican businessman Rofino Licuco with whom she had been in a relationship for three years.
A court in Maputo on Tuesday sentenced Licuco to a suspended prison sentence of three years and four months, Machel’s lawyer Abdul Carimo said during a press conference after the hearing.
Licuco was also ordered to pay $2.8m damages, Carimo added.
Licuco’s lawyer said that he would appeal.
“This victory should be celebrated by all women who are abused verbally, emotionally, financially, sexually,” said Jocina Machel, 40, who used sunglasses to hide bruises.
Machel, the daughter of Mozambique’s former president Samora Machel, has founded a charity to help victims of domestic abuse and dedicated her victory to “all of those who suffer in silence”.
Graca Machel, who is highly respected in both Mozambique and South Africa where she was the wife of former president Nelson Mandela, said she was disappointed that Licuco had escaped a custodial sentence.
“I had hoped and wanted him to go to prison for a very simple reason: all aggressors, all of those who abuse women should get the message that if they do that, they will end up in prison,” she said.
“If not, it gives the impression that if they pay they go unpunished.”
According to NGOs, violence against women is on the increase in Mozambique.
During this year’s New Year celebrations, cases of s*xual assault were 25% higher than a year earlier.
In December another high profile case of domestic violence hit the headlines when Valentina Guebuza, the daughter of former president Armando Guebuza was shot dead by her husband during an argument.