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Mayor of northern Italian town calls for tougher laws to protect women after woman allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend, who recently received a plea deal for harassing her several times after their breakup

ROME – The mayor of a town in northern Italy on Sunday called for tougher laws to protect women, a day after a woman was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, who had recently secured a deal to plea for repeatedly harassing her after their breakup.

Mayor Luca Vecchi of Reggio Emilia gathered his fellow citizens for a silent sit-in in a city park where the body of Juana Cecilia Hazana Loayza, 34, from Lima, Peru, was found a day earlier, his throat slit.

“Italy can no longer ignore this serious problem” of femicide, the murder of women by current or past spouses or boyfriends or male relatives, the mayor said. “We need tougher laws and tighter controls. “

Mourners placed candles and flowers on a park bench. “Why are you afraid of my freedom? Read a banner held by several women during the commemorative event.

A 24-year-old Italian from the nearby town of Parma was arrested hours after the body of Hazana Loayza was found, stabbed and showing signs of strangulation, Italian media reported.

This month, a court ruled to suspend the man’s two-year sentence for harassing her, despite two court orders asking him to keep her distance, media reported. Corriere della Sera reported that with the plea agreement, a previous order prohibiting him from approaching the woman was no longer enforceable.

Mirko Genco was arrested by paramilitary Carabinieri officers and his arrest was confirmed after being questioned by a prosecutor, Corriere della Sera said. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.

Hazana Loayza lived with her mother and a young son from a different relationship, media reported. Apparently she had only dated Genco briefly.

Sky TG24 TV reported that the suspect’s mother was murdered in 2015 by her ex-boyfriend, who first beat her, then immersed her in a tub of water before leaving her for dead at the entrance to their house.

To help abused women call for help, an Italian supermarket chain has started printing a nationwide hotline number on the bottom of its checkout receipts. The chain’s cashiers also now sport a large red metal button with the hotline number.

Mayor Vecchi said the sit-in was meant to remember Hazana Loayza, who had lived for several years in Reggio Emilia, but also to “seek justice” for her.

Women have struggled for years to eradicate deeply rooted patriarchal attitudes in Italian society. Until a few decades ago, Italian courts imposed light sentences on men who committed “honor killings” or who killed their partners out of jealousy.

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ABC News

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