Monday, June 17, 2024

Transgender rights activist Samantha Gomes Fonseca murdered in Mexico City

A transgender rights activist and Senate hopeful was murdered Sunday in the southern Mexico City borough of Xochimilco, authorities said.

Samantha Carolina Gomes Fonseca, a trans woman who was hoping to stand as a Senate candidate for the ruling Morena party at elections in June, was shot dead while traveling in a vehicle affiliated with a ridesharing company, according to the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office (FGJ).

Journalist Carlos Jiménez said on the X social media platform that Gomes was killed after visiting an inmate at the Reclusorio Sur men’s prison.

He said that she got into a Didi vehicle after leaving the prison, and was shot and killed by a man who approached the car when it was going over a speed bump.

The FGJ said it was investigating the murder “under the protocol of femicide,” a crime defined as the killing of a woman or girl on account of her gender.

The Mexico City Security Ministry said that authorities were looking at surveillance camera footage to identify “the probable culprits.”

Samantha Gomes Fonseca at the Senate
Gomes (center) at a forum held in the Mexican Senate in December. (Dr Samantha Fonseca/X)

Police have also interviewed witnesses of the murder of the 37-year-old activist, who also worked as an advisor for several lawmakers in Mexico City, according to the El Universal newspaper.

The news website Infobae reported that “it is said unofficially ” that Gomes had received threats from inmates at the Reclusorio Sur prison and another Mexico City jail.

She frequently visited prisons to conduct workshops and organize other events, El Universal reported.

Temístocles Villanueva, a deputy in the Mexico City Congress, described the attack on Gomes as “cowardly.”

Samantha Gomes Fonseca at a Morena party event
Gomes (left) had political aspirations and was a member of the Morena party. (Dr Samantha Fonseca/X)

Gomes, “our colleague and friend,” was “a brilliant woman” who had “a wide-ranging career in the defense of human rights and against discrimination,” he wrote on X, noting that she received a medal from the Mexico City Congress in recognition of her human rights work.

“Samantha dedicated her life to different causes focused on the political participation of LGBTQI+ people and the defense of … [prisoners’] rights,” Villanueva said.

“… We demand justice for Dr. Samantha [Gomes] Fonseca!”

Morena Senator Ricardo Monreal called the murder “cowardly” and “reprehensible.”

Gomes dedicated her life to fighting against discrimination “in all its forms,” and was a “woman of character, hard-working and loyal to the principles and values she held,” he wrote on X.

Just hours before she was killed, Gomes took to social media to promote a Mexico City protest “for the dignity of trans women” that is scheduled to take place Monday.

Her murder occurred three days after Miriam Noemi Ríos, a trans woman and municipal official, was killed in Jacona, Michoacán.

With reports from Radio Fórmula, Milenio, El Universal, Excélsior and Infobae 

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