Above: Salvadoran police officers prepare to patrol in downtown San Salvador, on the eve of the first round of the national election, on February 2, 2019.
Three police officers in El Salvador have been charged with the murder of a transgender woman who was deported from the United States.
Camila Díaz Cordova, 31, fled her hometown last year, fearing for her life following violent threats, according to Mónica Linares, who serves as director of the Salvadoran advocacy group Asociación Aspidh Arcoiris Trans (ASPIDH). Linares, told NBC News she had known Díaz Córdova for 10 years, described the threats as frequent and dating back to at least 2014. It was at that time that Díaz Córdova first filed a report with El Salvador’s National Civil Police.
She was reported missing in January, and by the end of the month, ASPIDH had discovered she was admitted to the hospital following an attack. She died, at Rosales National Hospital, in San Salvador, on February 3.
The three police officers charged in connection with her murder are: Carlos Valentín Rosales, Jaime Giovanni Mendoza, and Luis Alfredo, all of whom are with the National Civil Police’s 911 System, according to the Washington Blade. They face charges of deprivation of liberty by an agent of authority and aggravated homicide as a hate crime. All three made their initial court appearance on July 5.
“The Salvadoran government owes a lot to all of these families who have lost a loved one who was part of the LGBTI community or specifically a trans woman,” Díaz Cordova’s friend, Virginia Flores, told the Blade. “Trans women, out of everyone in the LGBTI community, are the most stigmatized, the most discriminated because the same LGBTI community sometimes discriminates against us.”
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world, and the LGBTQ population, especially the trans community, is particularly at risk. In 2017, the UN called for an investigation after at least seven trans women were reported killed in the country within five months, NBC notes.
“Violence against trans people is endemic, and it’s unconscionable that the United States would deport people back to those circumstances to meet their deaths,” said Neela Ghosal, an LGBTQ researcher at Human Rights Watch.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson in San Diego, Lauren Mack, provided the following statement to The Hill:
After an interview and inspection by officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Diaz Cordova was processed for expedited removal and transferred to ICE custody. On August 23, 2017, Diaz Cordova was placed into removal proceedings before an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
On November 1, 2017, Diaz Cordova appeared in immigration court and asked the immigration judge for return to El Salvador. After advising Diaz Cordova as to the right to pursue applications for relief from removal, the immigration judge issued a final order of removal and both parties waived appeal rights. On November 22, 2017, Diaz Cordova was removed to El Salvador.