Hate crime in Veracruz, alleged murderer arrested

Miguel Ángel Medina Lara, a member of the LGBT+ community, was murdered last week in Veracruz

Hate crime in Veracruz, alleged murderer arrested
People hold a banner reading "Justice!" in a protest against violence targeting the LGBT community – Photo: Bernardo Montoya/AFP
English 15/08/2019 15:28 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Notimex &Patricia Ramírez/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 20:15
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Miguel Ángel Medina Lara went to the House of Culture of the municipality of Acayucan, Veracruz to share two of his passions in a theater workshop: painting and acting. Nonetheless, he was killed.

Mike, as his friends called him, was 21 years old, and was a member of the LGBT+ community, he worked in a stationery store and was getting ready to enroll in the National Theater School of Mexico (ENAT): he wanted to be an actor and stage his own plays. He aspired to be a model, too.

But on last week his dreams were shattered.

He left the workshop at night and did not arrive at his home, reason why his family reported his disappearance. The next day, they found him brutally assassinated against a tombstone in the municipal cemetery, less than 100 meters from the House of Culture. According to the first versions, Mike was also sexually abused.

“He was very intelligent, he never messed up with anyone. The Attorney General is already investigating, but the only thing they tell us is that according to the evidence, it is a hate crime,” says Marisela Villanueva, aunt of Mike, in interview with EL UNIVERSAL.

She asserts that authorities are working to rule out robbery since his backpack was found intact, with all his things still in it.

According to the National Observatory Against Hate Crimes and the collective Soy Humano A.C., Mike’s case is considered the 17th crime due to sexual orientation and gender identity registered in Veracruz, one of the most violent states for the LGBT+ community.

The group works with registries from 2012, but its members say that the Public Health Ministry of Veracruz still does not acknowledge their figures and has never received them.

“The legal part corresponds to the Attorney General (…) We will demand the investigation to be held according to the constitutional article 144 of the Criminal Code of Veracruz, in which there are several aggravating factors to consider it a hate crime,” explained Jaziel Bustamante, coordinator of the Observatory.

 

No one saw anything. The distance that divides the House of Culture of Acayucan from the cemetery Gregorio Vidal, in Melchor Ocampo street, there are also offices of Firemen and Civil Protection of the state. In front of the cultural center, there is a clinical laboratory and some meters away, a self-service store. But there are no witnesses.

“No one saw anything (…) In the Firemen’s side, there are surveillance cameras, but they do not work. The laboratory and the store have their own recordings, we have already asked for access to them,” says Marcela.

In addition, she explains that they do not suspect of Mike’s friends. However, the area where the homicide happened has a criminal record: four years ago, a young man was also murdered and months later a case of a dog that died after being beaten and raped was registered.

They have received support from other citizens and via social media to mobilize should the Attorney General not obtain results.

He was really sweet and educated. Hence the indignation, because we know he was a very good man. We only hope authorities actually investigate, because we don’t want anyone else to suffer something like this.”

Veracruz Attorney General’s Office (FGE) informed of the arrest of Luis Humberto “N,” alleged murderer of Miguel Ángel Medina.

The head of the FGE, Jorge Winckler, detailed that the arrested, from Guatemala, is an alleged member of the crime group “Mara Salvatrucha.

As registered in the Criminal Proceeding 222/2019, in the initial hearing, he was accused of the crime of first-degree murder and was imposed the exceptional precautionary detention measure for two years; the hearing to bid him over to trial was scheduled for next August 20th, 2019.
 

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