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October 18, 2017
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Iconic trans activist stabbed to death in BA

Diana Sacayán is seen in a file photograph.
Diana Sacayán is seen in a file photograph.
Diana Sacayán is seen in a file photograph.
CFK had given Diana Sacayán a new DNI card following approval of Gender Identity Law

Trans activist Diana Sacayán — who in 2012 received from President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner a DNI card with her female identity — was found dead with multiple stab wounds yesterday in her apartment in the City neighbourhood of Flores. Investigators believe she may have been murdered over the weekend.

Sources from the Attorney General’s Office confirmed to the Herald yesterday that the leader of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) was stabbed. An autopsy will be conducted, they also explained, and the results will likely be made public today.

The same source confirmed that Sacayán’s body was found in a pool of blood with her hands and feet tied with rope. Investigators believe that she had not been murdered yesterday.

The building superintendent noticed that the door to her flat on the 13th floor was open. When he entered, he witnesses traces of violence everywhere. He phoned the police at about 1pm.

City prosecutor Matías Di Lello was informed about the death at about 3pm, and he quickly went to the building located on 6747 Rivadavia Avenue.

Investigators said that the apartment’s door was broken from the inside, meaning that Sacayán likely knew the perpetrator and allowed the murderer to come inside and locked the door, but he was not able to find the key to open the door.

According to the same source, the apartment was in shambles, but speculation that the murder was due to a robbery have been dismissed. In fact, they explained that there were signs of violence, meaning she seems to have tried to defend herself from the attacker.

Di Lello is questioning Sacayán’s neighbours. A report indicated that there are witnesses who saw her entering her apartment with a man over the weekend, but none of them saw her coming out. According to the state-run news agency Télam, some witnesses also indicated that she could have been attacked by a couple.

Sacayán was also planning to take part in the 30th National Women’s Meeting that was held in Mar del Plata during the weekend. She did not attend and her friends started to phone her to ask why she was not there. There was no answer.

That is why the investigators have not ruled out that she could have been murdered between Saturday or Sunday.

Attorney General’s Unit against Violence Against Women (UFEM) head Mariela Labozzetta requested that the PFA apply the protocol that details how femicides should be handled.

Sources also told the Herald that it is likely that Di Lello requests the unit led by Labozzetta to participate in the investigation.

A recent complaint

The Attorney General’s Unit Against Institutional Violence (Procuvin) has filed a complaint against a group of 12 officers from the Metropolitan Police who on August 26 arrested Sacayán and an employee from the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) while they were waiting for a bus on 9 de Julio Avenue.

Sacayán was waiting for a bus to go to La Plata to take part in the debate over a bill that created jobs for trans people. While queuing, a man started to insult them and Sacayán requested an apology from the man. A Metropolitan Police female agent handcuffed Sacayán and tried to arrest her.

“The police agents intervened without listening to the explanation given by the victims. They were beaten, humiliated and insulted,” the Procuvin — headed by federal prosecutor Miguel Palazzani — said in a writ.

Sources from the Attorney General’s Office explained that after she reported the attack and the arrest, they offered Sacayán to be placed under police custody but she declined.

Asked by the Herald whether her violent death could be connected to her complaint against the Metropolitan Police, sources explained that Di Lello believed there was no link. However, a source from the Procuvin made it clear they have not ruled out any hypothesis.

At press time, Di Lello was interrogating neighbours, who could help him to identify the attacker or at least when the attack took place. The building where Sacayán lived did not have any security cameras, but investigators were analyzing footage from cameras of shops located nearby.

Last month, two trans women were murdered: Marcela Chocobar and Coty Olmos, according to a report by Infojus, a news portal run by the Justice Ministry.

An iconic activist

Diana was born in Tucumán province 39 years ago. She moved to Buenos Aires with her parents to live in Gregorio de Laferrere in La Matanza, the most-populous district in the province. She lived in poverty and ended up going into prostitution. She took part in several organizations as an activist. In 2012, she was nominated to head La Matanza’s Ombudsman Office. She worked for the INADI. She used to collaborate with articles to Página/12 supplement Soy and the magazine El Teje.

Diana was also one of the leaders of the Anti-discriminatory Movement for Freedom (MAL). In 2013, the MAL paid tribute to the Association of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo led by Hebe Pastor de Bonafini.

“It is thanks to the Mothers that we have been able to build our identities,” Sacayán said then.

In her blog, on May 11, 2014, Sacyán wrote a post that takes on a new light after her death.

“When I leave, I don’t want people in mourning. I want colours, drinks and lots of food. That food that lacked when I was a girl,” she wrote. “”hen I leave, I wish I made my contribution to the struggle for a world without gender inequality, without class inequality.”

Herald staff

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