LGBTQ rights

Argentina releases ‘Higui,’ lesbian accused of killing would-be rapist

Appeals court frees 43-year-old who spent eight months in pre-trial custody on homicide charge

Eva Analía de Jesús, better known as Higui.
Eva Analía de Jesús, better known as Higui.

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“We are all incredibly happy. Her family, her friends, her lawyer, all the organizations [that supported her],” Higui’s mother Susana said via telephone as she was making her way to the courts to be reunited with her daughter, who openly identifies as a lesbian.

“I want to hug her, be with her, talk to her and cook her whatever she wants,” Susana added.

Higui’s nightmare began when she was leaving her home with some friends and was attacked by three men in the hallway. “I’m going to make you feel like a woman you stupid lesbian,” one of them said to her the night of October 16, 2016, in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Miguel, according to her statement before a judge.

Higui claims that they started to beat her, knocking her down onto the ground and ripping her pants. According to her version, when one of the assailants laid on top of her to penetrate her, Higui pulled out a knife that she had hidden in her bra and stabbed him in the chest with it. It was a lethal wound, and the victim, Cristian Rubén Espósito, did not last the night.

Higui was placed in custody, accused of homicide by the public prosecutor. Her lawyers, meanwhile, argue that she is a victim of gender violence, and that she was acting in legitimate self-defense in the face of a punishment rape.

Meanwhile, calls for Higui’s release continued to intensify. Even legendary Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita – from whom Higui took her nickname – came out in the woman’s defense on his Twitter account. And on June 3, she was one of the symbols of a huge protest carried out by the Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) women’s rights movement in Argentina.

“I think she was released because of popular pressure. Sadly we are seeing that this is how the legal system works,” said Azucena, one of Higui’s sisters, noting that her sibling had been the target of attacks since she was a teenager for being a lesbian. The family says her release has come as a surprise that neither they nor Higui expected.

English version by George Mills.