Three Salvadoran police officers have been convicted in the murder of Camila Díaz Córdova, a trans woman who was deported from the U.S. in 2018 after attempting to seek asylum.
The officers—identified as Jaime Geovany Mendoza Rivas, Luis Alfredo Avelar Sandoval and Carlos Valentín Rosales Carpio—were convicted on charges of aggravated homicide and face 20 years in prison each, Human Rights Watch reports.
Díaz Córdova tried repeatedly to flee to the U.S. to escape the violence she faced in El Salvador due to her gender identity, including from organized crime rings. She reached the U.S. in August of 2017, but was detained by ICE and deported just a few months later. Díaz Córdova returned to El Salvador, and was killed slightly over a year after her deportation. Reports say that she was beaten by officers in a patrol car and left on the side of the road. She was eventually found and brought to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.
“LGBT people have a right to live in a country that respects and protects their basic right to life,” José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW, said in a statement. “The justice system should ensure that those responsible for anti-LGBT violence are held accountable, including by pursuing hate crimes charges where appropriate.”
Violence against trans women in El Salvador is so notorious that it prompted the U.N to call for an investigation in 2017. Local advocacy groups report that at least 600 trans people have been murdered in the country since 1993.
Between October 2019 and April 2020, at least seven trans women and two gay men were murdered in the country, and the details of the cases lead authorities to believe the murders were motivated by the vicitms’ gender identities or sexual orientations.