Women's rights groups reacted with outrage after a Portuguese court quoted the Bible in a ruling that justified a suspended sentence for a man who attacked his "adulterous" ex-wife with a nail-spiked bat, NPR reports. The appeals court judges in Porto called adultery a "serious attack" on a man's "honor and dignity," citing a 1886 law that calls for only a symbolic penalty when a man kills a cheating wife. The Oct. 11 ruling says the Bible calls for an "adulteress" to be "punished with death," per Reuters. The panel writes that "society has always strongly condemned adultery by a woman and therefore sees the violence by a betrayed, humiliated man with some understanding."
The man was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000, per the AP. Prosecutors had requested 3.5 years in prison. The woman's scorned lover, who was also fined, participated in the 2015 attack in which the woman was kidnapped and beaten, per NPR. The victim, who was left with cuts and bruises, could appeal the ruling, which women's rights activists called "revolting," per Reuters. The Women's Union for Alternative and Response slammed the decision as "victim blaming," saying it legitimizes violence against women. The Bible has no place in a courtroom, the group added in a statement, calling for protests on Friday. A council that oversees the judicial system said courts are independent and it could not intervene even in cases in which judges make "archaic, inappropriate, or unfortunate" comments, per the AP. (A woman in Qatar was convicted of adultery after reporting a rape.)