An Argentine court on Monday began a trial in a “transvesticide” for the third time in the country's history. The hearing comes more than two years after prominent LGBT activist Diana Sacayan was stabbed to death in October 2015 in Buenos Aires.
Two more hearings are scheduled on Wednesday and Friday, of this week, for the suspect Gabriel Dabid Marino, 25 years old, who has been in preventive custody since the murder was made public.
Marino is accused of homicide with three aggravated circumstances: gender violence, hate of gender identity with premeditation and theft.
In the past, two other trials for “transvesticide” have been carried out in the country, resulting in a life prison sentence for the suspects, although the aggravated circumstance of “gender violence” was eventually dropped.
Marino allegedly killed Sacayan with the help of another man who has yet to be arrested in an apartment in Buenos Aires' neighborhood of Flores.
Her body was found two days later with 27 injuries to her body.
Marino confessed that he had met Sacayan during treatment for addictions, had sex with her on multiple occasions, but denied having killed her. He claimed that he arrived at the flat while Sacayan and another man were fighting, resulting in her murder.
Prosecutors in the investigation found that the homicide was motivated for “being a trans woman” and a member of the Program of Sexual Diversity, part of the governmental agency National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism.
Sacayán was also president of the International Association of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals (ILGA), as well as a member of the Anti-Discrimination Liberation Movement (MAL).
Prosecutors also argued that Marino regularly visited Sacayan's apartment the month before she was killed —hence his easy access to her home the night of the murder, and was introduced as her “boyfriend” to her close circle.
They labeled the crime as a "transvesticide," a type of femicide defined in Argentina's Criminal Code, article 80 if a person identifies their gender identity as feminine.
The homophobic prejudices expressed by the suspect, as well as the extreme violence of the murder hints to a hate crime, they added, beyond the mere intention of killing.
Sacayán’s death is also one of many recent cases of femicides in Argentina. Activists say a woman is killed in Argentina as often as once every 30 hours.
Latin American countries have some of the world's highest murder rates for transgendered people. According to Transgender Europe, which advocates for transgender people worldwide, Latin America accounted for 78 percent of the 1,731 murders of transgender and gender-diverse people reported worldwide between January 2008 and December 2014.