The Minister of Justice, Néstor Osuna, presented a bill to Congress with a controversial proposal: stop considering incest between adults as a crime.
“What we are proposing to eliminate is that two people, both adults, who freely consent to have sex, are sent to jail,” he told Blu Radio on Tuesday.
Colombian legislation punishes relatives in the first degree of consanguinity who have sexual relations with sentences of up to six years in prison.
The minister presented a legislative proposal to Congress on Monday to improve prison conditions and decriminalize some practices, when prison overcrowding reaches a critical peak.
“It is necessary to establish in a criminal law typical of a liberal society some limits to the persecution of the State to behaviors that do not really harm society,” he added.
Osuna stopped to point out differences between incest and other sexual crimes.
“It is neither rape, nor abusive sexual acts, nor acts with minors. That stays exactly the same with the deservedly high penalties they have,” she said. If the incest is “with a child, it is rape,” she remarked.
In Colombia the age of sexual consent is 14 years. Osuna did not specify what would happen in the event of an incestuous relationship between a young person between the ages of 14 and 18 with an adult.
The lawyer cited the masterpiece of the Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel García Márquez in which relations between members of the Buendía family are a common practice.
“In ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ there are several generations in which there is incest,” he said.
The official approach raised criticism. «From the government they propose to eliminate incest as a crime. A disastrous message for families and a macabre stimulus for rapists,” Ernesto Macías, former president of the Senate for the right-wing Democratic Center, reacted on Twitter.
Although one of the intentions of the Ministry of Justice is to relieve prison congestion, the minister assured that there is a “minimum number” of those convicted of incestuous acts.
Congress will debate other Osuna proposals such as granting work permits to inmates who have paid more than half of their sentence for minor crimes. If approved, they will be able to leave during the day and return to their cells at night.
In Colombia, the maximum sentence for child sexual abusers is 60 years in prison. with RSF