Three LGBT activists murdered in Mexico after being kidnapped from nightclub in tourist spot

Three well-known LGBT rights activists in Mexico were killed this weekend.

The bodies of Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel López were discovered by authorities on Sunday morning in popular tourist spot Taxco, a city between Mexico City and Chilpancingo, after they were kidnapped by a group of men from a nightclub.

President of LGBTI advocacy group, Diversidad Guerrero, Gaby Soberanis told the Washington Blade that a group of men had tried to extort money from the trio in the nightspot, when they refused she claims that the men returned and forcibly put them in a van.

Ruben Estrada was kidnapped and murdered on Sunday, along with his partner Carlos Uriel López and their friend Roberto Vega. All three men were LGBT activists (Facebook)

Their bodies were found a few hours later on a dirt road near the main highway between Mexico City and Acapulco.

Estrada, 35, was the main organiser of Taxco’s annual Pride march and a local gay beauty contest, while Vega and López, who was his partner, were also activists.

Images from local press suggest that the men were shot in the back of their heads and were tortured before they were killed.

Lol Kin Castañeda, a lesbian activist who is a member of the Mexico City Constituent Assembly tagged Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo a tweet demanding justice.

She wrote: “The loss is for a society that demands equality, freedom and an end to violence. We demand justice.”

At least 202 LGBT people have been murdered Mexico between 2014-2016, averaging six homicides a month.

A member of the transgender community demonstrates during a protest in front of the Secretary of Interior building in Mexico City on October 20, 2016. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The figures show a disproportionate number of trans women were victims, making up 108 – more than half – of those murdered.

93 of the victims were gay men, while one lesbian woman was killed.

“Trans women are the most exposed to this type of lethal violence,” the report’s authors state.

“It is the first time that the number of trans women murdered exceeds the number of gays,” they added.

Mexican civil rights organisation Letra S SIDA reported that criminals had formed gangs dedicated to targeting gay men, whom they first seduce before attacking and robbing them.

Speaking to news site EFE, Letra S SIDA executive director Alejandro Brito said this worrying trend was unprecedented.

200 LGBT people were killed in Mexico from 2014-2016 (PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

“We hadn’t seen gang attacks before, like those that occur in the United States or Europe.”

The most homicides in the period were recorded in 2016, when 76 LGBT people were killed..

The group found that 33 of the victims’ bodies showed signs of torture and 15 showed signs that they had been subjected to sexual violence – figures which the report’s authors warn could be higher.

Only 64 suspects were identified for the 202 murders – less than one-third – while just 17 of the cases were classified as primarily a hate crime.