10 police officers charged in connection with killing of trans woman in Argentina

Sofia Fernandez

Authorities in Argentina have charged 10 police officers in connection with the death of transgender woman Sofia Fernández.

The officers were arrested on 1 May, following an investigation which began in September, and subsequently charged in connection with the killing of 39-year-old former language professor Sofia Fernández, who was found strangled in custody at a police station in Argentina‘s capital Buenos Aires in April 2023.

Reports from local media detailed how Fernández was due to start a career in nursing and was beginning the process of getting her gender legally recognised. She was arrested after being accused of robbery by a neighbour and was held at the police station for a number of days before her body was discovered in her cell.

Her family insist she had no criminal record prior to the arrest and was not allowed to communicate with them during her time in custody.

The police initially claimed Fernández had suddenly died, then said she took her own life.

An autopsy revealed signs of torture and beatings, while a thong and a piece of foam rubber – likely to be from the cell mattress – had been stuffed in her throat which “obstructed the airways”.

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Police officers have been charged in connection with the death of a trans woman. (Canva)

The family’s lawyer, Ignacio Fernández, told the Blade that the indictment “not only covers the triple homicide, but also the [alleged] cover-up and falsification of documents by seven other police officers”.

He added that the forensic report revealed “the gruesome nature of the crime”, adding: “The investigation also highlighted the alleged involvement of police officers in the crime, which triggered intense scrutiny of the conduct of law enforcement. 

“The application of a gender perspective in the judicial process has been crucial, underlining the importance of recognising and addressing violence directed towards transgender people.”

Speaking to Argentinian news publication Presentes in April, Fernández’ sister, Mabel Valdez, said there were “no words to express how one feels when their sister is murdered… especially when she finds out (or imagines) little by little the whole ordeal that she suffered in that damned police station”.

She went on to say: “I hope justice moves quickly. Let everyone, regardless of who they were, pay – without privileges for anyone.”

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