MAPUTO, A Maputo court has sentenced the man who blinded Josina Machel, daughter of Mozambique’s first president, Samora Machel, to a prison sentence of three years and four months for acts of serious physical and psychological violence.

The man, Rofino Licuco, was Josina’s boyfriend between 2012 and 2015. On Oct 17, 2015 he beat her on the face so badly that she was blinded in her right eye.

Passing sentence, the Kampfumo Urban District Court suspended the prison sentence for five years, on the grounds that Licuco is a first offender. It also ordered him to pay Josina Machel compensation of 200 million meticais (about 2.9 million US dollars) and to reimburse her for all the costs of her medical treatment.

If Licuco does not pay the compensation within 30 days, the prison sentence will be executed.

However, matters could be delayed for much longer if Licuco appeals against the sentence. He has five days in which to appeal, and that will have the effect of suspending the entire sentence including the compensation.

The Machel family was disappointed that the court opted to suspend the sentence. Josina’s mother, former education minister Graca Machel, said: “I am pleased that he was convicted, but I am not pleased that the sentence was suspended. I wanted him to go to prison. The message should be sent out that, if a man assaults a woman, he will go to jail.”