Paraguay is set for historic trans murder trial

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08/09/2019

In a historic first for the conservative South American country, a court in Paraguay on Friday will convene for a murder trial in the death of a trans woman who was stabbed to death two years ago, according to local rights activists. The case, to be heard in the city of Luque on the outskirts of the capital Asuncion, involves the 2017 murder of Romina Vargas, a 28-year-old trans woman. LGBT+ activists say the trial could set an important precedent given frequent violence against trans people in the small Latin American country which has struggled with LGBT+ rights issues. “For us it’s a historic moment, the fact that it’s reached this point, that it’s gotten to a public, oral trial,” said Mariana Sepulveda, an activist with trans organization Panambi. “Never before … has the investigation of a murder or a hate crime (against a trans person) been resolved,” in Paraguay, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A predominantly Roman Catholic nation of some seven million, Paraguay has seen at least 60 trans people murdered over the last three decades, according to Panambi.

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