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Mexico: Murder Suspected in Non-binary Magistrate Jesús Ociel Baena’s Death

The death of Mexico’s first openly non-binary member of the judiciary, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist, appears to have been murder, officials say.

Jesús Ociel Baena was found dead at home next to their partner, Dorian Daniel Nieves, in the central city of Aguascalientes on Monday.

A razor blade was found at the scene and the authorities say there was no sign a third person had been present.

They now suspect Baena was killed by Nieves, who then took their own life.

Aguascalientes chief prosecutor Jesús Figueroa said Baena had been found with 20 wounds on their body, including one on their neck that was probably the cause of death.

Forensic evidence suggested Nieves had wielded the murder weapon, Mr Figueroa added.

However, he stressed that the investigation was ongoing so no definitive conclusions could yet be made.

Baena’s family disputed the authorities’ hypothesis. Their father, Juan Baena, said it “would be a shame to let this justice system make a judgment that is not correct and that the majority do not believe it”.

People attend a tribute to Mexico's first openly non-binary magistrate and LGBTQ activist, Ociel Baena, and their partner, Dorian Daniel Nieves Herrera, at the Electoral Court of the State of Aguascalientes, in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Rights organisations have called on the authorities to investigate whether the deaths were a hate crime and said Baena had received death threats.

The 38-year-old became a magistrate for the Aguascalientes state electoral court in October 2022 and was thought to be the first non-binary person in Latin America to take up a judicial position.

In June, they were among the first group of people to be issued gender-neutral passports

“Baena’s purpose was to promote the people of the LGBT+ community, who supported him throughout his struggle, achieving a powerful message of inclusion and equality in our state and our country,” fellow magistrate Laura Hortensia Llama said at a tribute held at the headquarters of the Aguascalientes electoral court.

“We will never forget Baena’s essence, persistence, and desire to achieve a better world.”

These sentiments were echoed by thousands of people who attended vigils and demonstration in several cities, including the capital, for the slain activist on Monday evening.

“Ociel is, and was, the most relevant figure in today’s fight for human rights for the LGBTQ+ community,” Humberto Dena, 24, told the Associated Press in Mexico City.

“We want [the authorities] to continue to investigate this case, and not just say it was a ‘crime of passion’.”

A vigil is held in honour of Baena

Source : BBC