Man arrested after ‘violent death’ of HIV-prevention campaigner and trans activist in Mexico
Police in Mexico have arrested a man in connection with the fatal stabbing of trans activist Mireya Rodriguez Lemus.
Lemus, a trans woman from Chihuahua state, was found stabbed to death in her home in Aquiles Serdan, outside Chihuahua City, on September 2.
She was the founder of Unión y Fuerza de Mujeres Trans Chihuahuenses (Union and Force of Chihuahua Trans Women), a support group for trans women, as well as a campaigner for AIDS prevention and education.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico condemned her murder and called for an investigation into whether she was killed because of her human-rights activism or in a hate crime, the El Paso Times reports.
The UN added that Lemus was one of at least seven human-rights activists murdered in Mexico this year.
Last week, a man named as Ivan Arturo G.P. – in Mexico, authorities do not fully name all crime suspects – was arrested by state investigators on gender-related aggravated homicide and aggravated robbery charges.
The attorney general’s office said that Lemus was “violently” stabbed to death in her home on August 30, and that her car and cellphone were stolen. It did not say whether it believed she was targeted for being LGBT+.
It’s been reported that she received death threats in the weeks leading up to her death and went to local police, who declined to investigate.
At least four transgender women are believed to have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez so far this year, but activists say police are reluctant to treat the killings as hate crimes, and often attempt to pass them off as drug-related.
Murder is a gruesome reality for LGBT+ people in Mexico.
Data previously collated by LGBT+ anti-violence group Letra Esse suggested that at least 117 LGBT+ people were brutally murdered in Mexico in 2019, in what activists are dubbing the deadliest year on record in half a decade.
More from PinkNews
The report by Letra Esse showed that the surge was up nearly a third (27 per cent) from 2018 and the highest figure since 2015. The group warned, however, that real figure might be even higher.
Trans women – one of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in Mexico – accounted for more than half of the murders, the group said. A third of the victims were gay men.
Letra Esse director Alejandro Brito said: “We’ve documented that victims are subjected to multiple forms of violence, before or even after they were murdered.
“There is a cruelty towards the victims.”