Bord Foren

logo-news

Mexican government sends conflicting messages over death of LGBTQ+ magistrate

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities on Tuesday sent conflicting messages about the violent death of a leading LGBTQ+ figure after thousands marched Monday night demanding justice.

Jesús Ociel Baena was found dead with around 20 wounds next to their partner in their home in the central Mexican city of Aguascalientes on Monday, according to state prosecutors. Baena, the first openly nonbinary person to assume a judicial post in Mexico, was one of the most visible LGBTQ+ figures in a country where sexual minorities are often violently targeted.

Baena and their partner had already received death threats and hateful messages and had protection from state security, prompting many across the country Monday to call their death a hate crime.

Authorities have provided minimal details about the slaying and local prosecutors hinted it may have been a murder-suicide.

Other news
This photo released by Colombia's Football Federation shows Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, left, reuniting with his father Luis Manuel Díaz, days after his father was released from his kidnappers, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. The soccer player's father was kidnapped in northern Colombia by a unit of a guerrilla group in late October and released the previous week. (Colombia Football Federation via AP)Liverpool striker Luis Díaz and his father are reunited for the 1st time after kidnappingFILE - Mexico's highest peak and the third highest in North America, Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltepetl mountain, which is a protected natural area, rises above the morning mist as seen from a Mexican Navy aircraft on a volcano monitoring mission in Mexico, July 23, 2013. Environmentalists say the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is trying to greenwash its legacy by adding dozens of new protected natural areas while simultaneously slashing funding for the environmental protection department. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)More parks, less money: Advocates say Mexico’s new budget doesn’t add up for natural protected areasFILE - Migrants who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico are met with concertina wire along the Rio Grande, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. U.S. authorities say illegal border crossings from Mexico fell 14% in October from a month earlier, following three months of big increases. The decline comes during the resumption of deportation flights to Venezuela, shortly after Venezuelans replaced Mexicans as the largest nationality appearing at the border. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)Illegal border crossings into the US drop in October after a 3-month streak of increases

The Aguascalientes prosecutor’s office on Tuesday offered new details, saying it appeared that Baena was murdered with razor blades by their partner, Dorian Herrera, who then committed suicide.

“It may seem like a not very credible hypothesis to many, but we’re being very careful to leave a record and preserve all evidence,” said state prosecutor Jesús Figueroa Ortega. He added that one of the wounds was on Baena’s jugular, and that they found blood on the bed and bloody footprints leading through the home.

Federal authorities, however, urged caution in the investigation Tuesday. Félix Arturo Medina, an official with Mexico’s Interior Ministry, said “it’s important to not throw out any line of investigation”, adding that they hoped to coordinate with state authorities to investigate the deaths.

READ:   Strong US economic growth for last quarter likely reflected consumers’ resistance to Fed rate hikes

“It’s a relevant case for us, not just because of the activism the magistrate was carrying out,” but also because the government wants all crimes to be investigated, Medina said.

Impunity runs rampant in Mexico. Only 1% of all crimes committed were reported, investigated and resolved in 2022, according to a survey by National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

The state authorities’ hypothesis was quickly rejected by many in Mexico’s LGBTQ+ community.

Alejandro Brito, director of the LGBTQ+ rights group Letra S urged authorities to continue to investigate the incident and to take into consideration the context of the case, and threats of violence against Baena.

Brito called state prosecutor’s version of events “loaded with prejudices” and said quick conclusions made by local authorities have only deepened distrust of authorities among historically victimized communities.

“In these types of homicides they always try to disqualify or belittle,” Brito said. “These statements that the prosecutor is giving, what they’re doing isn’t clarifying the acts, they’re adding fuel to the fire of these prejudices.”

People who knew Baena said the magistrate and Herrera in recent weeks were chipper and talked passionately about future activism.

Brito was echoed by thousands who gathered in the heart of Mexico City lighting candles over photos of Baena and other victims of anti-LGBTQ+ violence Monday night. They shouted “Justice” and “We won’t stay silent” and demanded a thorough investigation into the deaths.

“Ociel is, and was, the most relevant figure in today’s fight for human rights for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Humberto Dena, a 24-year-old carrying a candle alongside thousands of others in the march. “We want (the authorities) to continue to investigate this case, and not just say it was a ‘crime of passion.’”

READ:   Jeremy Hunt ‘set to quit as MP’ in fear of a Portillo moment

In becoming a magistrate in October 2022, Baena was thought to be the first nonbinary person in Latin America to assume a judicial position. Baena broke through another barrier this May as one of a group of people to be issued Mexico’s first passports listing the holders as nonbinary.

Baena appeared in regularly published photos and videos wearing skirts and heels and toting a rainbow fan in court offices and advocated on social media platforms, drawing hundreds of thousands of followers.

“I am a nonbinary person. I am not interested in being seen as either a woman or a man. This is an identity. It is mine, for me, and nobody else. Baena posted on X, formerly Twitter, in June. “Accept it.”

Last month, the electoral court presented Baena with a certificate recognizing the magistrate with the gender neutral noun “maestre,” a significant step in Spanish, a language that splits most of its words between two genders, masculine or feminine.

While Mexico has made significant steps in reducing anti-LGBTQ+ violence, Brito’s Letra S documented a jump in violence against sexual minorities in 2019. In that year alone, at least 117 lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender people were slain. Many were grisly killings, including brutal stabbings and public slayings.

The National Observatory of Hate Crimes Against LGBTI+ Persons in Mexico registered 305 violent hate crimes against sexual minorities in 2019-2022, including murder, disappearances and more.

____

Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america