Nicaragua trans laughed at by police when reporting brutal hate crime

A Nicaraguan trans who was stabbed and verbally abused by a group of men was laughed at by local police when attempting to report the hate crime

Nicaragua trans laughed at by police when reporting brutal hate crime
26 November 2012

Axel Díaz González, 20 year-old trans woman, was beaten and stabbed by group of men in Estelí, Nicaragua.

When González tried to file a complaint to the local police station she was laughed at and told she was asking for trouble because she ‘went looking for men’.

Hazel Espino, of Xilonem, a local agency working with LGBT health, was quoted in the portal La Prensa as saying: ‘There are no first or second class citizens; human beings have their dignity that no one can take that away, regardless of their actions or decisions, so they [trans] must be respected by everyone.’

The legal advisor to the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights, Alberto Rosales, condemned the incident and said that homophobia is a violation of human rights and that González has suffered discrimination at the hands of the police.

Yessenia Herrera, spokeswoman for Estelí police department said if González was ‘affected by poor performance’ of police officers she should submit a complaint to the office of internal affairs.

She added that that the police must attend all people equally without any discrimination.

In August 2011 a gay guy was brutally murdered in Estelí and his case is still unsolved.

Espino commented that many cases of violence towards LGBT people go unreported.

Last week, the Latin American NGO, Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) published a study a study that highlighted underreporting of hate crimes and deep distrust of LGBT Nicaraguans of the ability of the authorities to deal with reported cases.

The study identified 53 cases of aggression and violence against LGBT people in Nicaragua in the period of 1999-2011.

There were 15 recorded murders, of which 10 of the victims were identified as gay, 4 lwere esbian and trans, and 23 physical assaults on LGBT people.

The report showed that in contrast to violence against women in Nicaragua, where the perpetrator is mostly known, this is not the case in over half of the hate crimes against LGBT.

Two cases reported homophobic assault by Nicaraguan police.

Attorney Marcia Aguiluz, of CEJIL, said that many that cases are underreported and incidence could be much higher.

Aguiluz explained that study found that intolerance and violence to LGBT people is ingrained in the patriarchal and macho culture of Nicaragua.

This culture prevents and frightens many LGBT people to complain or use legal measures.

The Nicaraguan penal code recognizes as an aggravating crimes based on sexual orientation in Article 36 and penalizes discrimination in employment due to sexual orientation.

The CEJIL study found that the main reasons to this are fear or lack of trust in the national police, as well as lack of training and empathy of the police force.

The study emphasized a need for greater coordination of institution to fight hate crimes in Nicaragua, and called for training judicial officers, journalists, and the police as well as increased involved of LGBT people in these institutions.

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