Rome

House arrest possible for stalkers to lower jail numbers

Amendment would keep many accused out of prison before trial

House arrest possible for stalkers to lower jail numbers

Rome, July 30 - A Senate amendment Tuesday would keep accused stalkers as well as people charged with perjury and illegal political financing out of jail while pending trial. The measure, which covers charges including abuse of office, is designed to reduce the number of people held in Italy's seriously overcrowded jails. But as a result, the accused in many serious types of crimes could face only house arrest while they await trial. The amendment could go to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration as early as Wednesday. Women from several political parties quickly complained it sends the wrong message. One member of the Democratic Party (PD) said that accused stalkers should not be given such lenient treatment - particularly given the high rate of murders of women. "Those facing the crime of stalking must be remanded in prison," said PD member Roberta Agostini. "It is a serious offence, considering that almost every day we learn of reports of killings of women". Only one day earlier, police reported two murder-suicides by men who had been rejected by their former wives. Those were merely the latest in the wave of so-called 'femicides' across Italy. Eighty-one women were killed in Italy in the first half of 2013, 75% of whom were slain by family members or intimates, a joint report by the Italian social economic research group EURES and ANSA reported in June. Between 2000 and 2012, there were 2,200 women murder victims in Italy, or an average of 171 per year - about one every other day.

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