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Camila Díaz Córdova murdered by police after being denied asylum

Camila Díaz Córdova
Camila Díaz Córdova

Three San Salvadorian policemen have been arrested and charged with the murder of a former asylum seeker, transgender woman Camila Díaz Córdova.

The prosecutor’s office said the officers beat the victim for 40 minutes and left her alive on the street.

The Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) presented an injunction against three agents of the 911 Emergency System of the National Civil Police (PNC) for the crimes of deprivation of liberty and aggravated homicide.

The victim, identified as Camila Díaz Córdova, 29, according to the prosecution, was deprived of freedom, severely beaten and left alive on Constitution Boulevard by officers Carlos Valentin Rosales, Jaime Giovany Mendoza, and Luis Alfredo Avelar, of the Flor Blanca colony of San Salvador.

Justice would have never stood a chance if not for the unrelenting work by friends and advocacy groups.

Camila Díaz Córdova, 29, died on Feb. 3, 2019 days after she was found injured in Soyapango, a municipality in the outskirts of the capital, San Salvador, both a friend and trans advocate said.

Soon afterward police closed the investigation citing a lack of evidence according to her friend and advocate Virginia Flores.

Doctors told Flores, that she had either been brutally attacked or struck by a vehicle, and was transported to a hospital after she was found injured in a street.

“It was all so tragic,” Flores told BuzzFeed News.

The Washington Blade first reported Camila Córdova’s death in English.

Díaz Córdova had requested asylum from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the summer of 2017 in Tijuana, Flores said, fleeing to the US after gang members had tried to kill her. By November 2017 she had been deported to El Salvador, Flores said.

“In Honduras and El Salvador, it has never been illegal to be part of the rainbow, but that has not meant the State guarantee rights either, but coexisted with the most hostile and lethal societies for these minorities. Between 1996 and 2015, more than 500 hate crimes were registered in El Salvador   -without that category existing as a crime- while in Honduras the 2009 coup aggravated the violence against the LGBTI population, victim of 259 murders between 2009 and 2017.”

“The struggle in these countries, for now, remains that they do not kill you, without putting the struggle for visibility and representation on hold.”

The lack of action on the part of the judicial system to investigate hate crimes has created a widespread feeling of anxiety among El Salvador’s LGBTI activists. “It is unfortunate that although we have articles in the penal code that (allow for the classification of) crimes committed against trans people as hate crimes, they are not put into practice,” Miss Trans El Salvador 2018 Tatiana Molina, who is also an LGBTI activist, told the Blade. “Such is the case of all the crimes that have occurred in recent years and specifically the cases of Camila and Lolita. That is why we are demanding justice and the prompt investigation and prosecution of these cases.”

The increase in anti-LGBTI hate crimes and the lack of prosecution of them has sparked increased fear among community members. “I feel outraged, insecure and even more so I am afraid of any reaction of a homophobic or transphobic person who can harm us while walking in the streets,” she said.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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