ARGENTINA

Another week, and another three women are slain in Argentina

Martial arts teacher stabs ex-wife, her aunt and grandmother, adding to 200-a-year female murder rate

Police at the triple murder scene in Mendoza, Argentina.
Police at the triple murder scene in Mendoza, Argentina.Telam

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Less than a week after thousands of Argentineans staged a one-hour work stoppage to protest the gang rape and murder of 16-year-old Lucía Pérez, the lives of three more women have been claimed.

On Sunday, following an argument, Daniel Gonzalo Zalazar, a 31-year-old martial arts teacher from the western city of Mendoza, stabbed his ex-wife, Claudia Lorena Arias, aged 30, along with her aunt, Marta Susana Ortiz, aged 45, and her grandmother, 90-year-old Vicenta Díaz. He also attempted to murder a seven-month-old baby and the 11-year-old son from his ex-wife’s previous marriage. Both children are in intensive care. The couple’s eight-year-old son was able to hide, and later called the police. The killer was arrested when he sought treatment for a cut on his hand at a nearby hospital.

The country’s Supreme Court last year set up a national register to record murders of women

When police arrived at the murder scene, they discovered that Zalazar had left a gas valve open near a lit candle.

“This is an unbelievably cruel act. He is a killer, a psychopath who cannot claim that he was in danger. Leaving the gas on shows his crime was premeditated,” says Gianni Venier, the head of Mendoza’s Department of Security.

Zalazar, who has no previous convictions and has been described as “peaceful” posted a photograph of himself with two friends on Instagram a few days ago with the message: “It’s great to train with people who have the same mental problems…#locura [madness]”

On October 19, women’s groups throughout Argentina staged marches to protest the country’s high levels of gender violence. More than 200 women are murdered each year by their partner or former partner.

Argentina’s Supreme Court recorded 235 murders of women in 2015, an average of one every 36 hours. The previous year, 225 murders of women were recorded. In response, for the last two years, women’s groups have staged marches in cities throughout the country, but authorities have taken little action to protect vulnerable women. On average, around 20% of murder victims had reported harassment and violence by their killer to the police.

The case of Lucía Pérez shocked the country and made headlines around the world

With anger about the numbers of women being murdered in Argentina on the rise, the country’s Supreme Court last year set up a national register to record such killings.

The case of Lucía Pérez shocked the country and made headlines around the world. The 16-year-old was drugged and repeatedly raped earlier this month by at least two men and then taken to a hospital where they claimed she had suffered a drug overdose. She died in hospital of her injuries. Three other women were murdered within days of the incident.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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