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For the first time, Colombia prosecutes murder of trans woman as femicide

For the first time, Colombia prosecutes murder of trans woman as femicide

two photo. on the left is a woman posing for the camera wearing a strapless yellow dress. On the fight a man in handcuffs stands between two polic officers, solemnly looking at camera

A Colombian court has convicted a man for the crime of femicide after he murdered a trans woman.

It is the first time anyone has been charged and convicted using the femicide law for the murder of a trans person.

Colombia introduced the Rosa Elvira Cely law in 2015, naming it after the woman raped and murdered in a Bogota park in 2012. The law targets perpetrators who commit violence against women because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. The law was introduced to curb the high rates of violence against women in Colombia where 8,020 women were killed in Colombia between 2009 and 2014  according to Medicina Legal.

Anyela Ramos Claros

In February 2017, Davinson Stiven Erazo Sánchez shot and killed trans woman, Ramos Claros.

Earlier this month a court sentenced him to 20 years in a psychiatric institute for the crime of aggravated femicide.

Sánchez shot Claros multiple times at the beauty salon she ran in the municipality of Garzón. He had also tried to attack her with a knife months before her death.

When police apprehended Sánchez, he used her gender identity as a justification for his actions.

36 trans murders in 2017

LGBTI group Colombia Diversa reported 36 trans people murdered in Colombia in 2017.

Through the group, Ramos’ family released a statement thanking the court for the ‘acknowledgement of Anyela as a woman’. Court documents recorded Ramos as a victim under her male birth. But she was referred to as female during the court proceedings.

‘This shows a change in the way the judiciary and the prosecution are dealing with crimes based on prejudice. Clearly, there’s still much to be done in both the State and civil society; we are willing to contribute what we can,’ Ramos’ family said.

Sánchez’s conviction is the second for the femicide of a trans woman in all of South America. In June this year, an Argentinian court convicted two men of femicide for the violent murder of trans advocate, Diana Sacayán in 2015.  The Court ruled Sacayán’s murderers killed her because of her gender identity and role as and trans rights activist.