3 Women Dead After Lesbian Couples Set On Fire In Alleged Hate Crime In Argentina – NDTV

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The fire was started by a 62-year-old man named Justo Fernando Barrientos.

Three women have died and one more is in critical condition after a room in a boarding house in Argentina was set on fire with two lesbian couples inside. The incident happened on May 6, when a man threw a Molotov cocktail into their boarding house room in Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Herald reported. 

While one woman, Pamela Fabiana Cobas, was severely burned and died almost immediately, her partner, Mercedes Roxana Figueroa, died of organ failure two days later, with burns covering 90 per cent of her body. The third woman Andrea Amarante died in the hospital on May 12.

The fourth woman, Sofia Castroriglos Riglos, 49, remains in a local hospital but is expected to live.

The fire was started by a 62-year-old man named Justo Fernando Barrientos. He reportedly used rags doused in a flammable substance, forcing the evacuation of the boarding house in Barracas on Monday night. Barrientos was arrested and taken to a separate hospital for a self-inflicted neck injury. He was later discharged and remains in police custody.

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Eyewitnesses and other lodgers at the boarding house said that he had abused and threatened the victims on previous occasions because they were lesbians.

LGBTQ organizations in Argentina have described the attack as a hate crime. The Argentine LGBT Federation said in a statement that the attack is ”potentially one of the most abhorrent hate crimes in recent years.”

”Hate crimes are the result of a culture of violence and discrimination, sustained by hate speech currently endorsed by several government officials,” the organisation said in a statement. 

They also said they were looking for the victims’ families and friends, but have yet to be able to connect with them.

”We are going to stand by them, making ourselves available for whatever they and their families need, and we will closely follow the court case so that there is justice,” said the organization. “But we cannot fail to point out that hate crimes are the result of a culture of violence and discrimination that is sustained on hate speeches that today are endorsed by several officials and referents of the national government,” the organisation added. 

A protest was held on Friday, May 10 outside Argentina’s National Congress building, demanding justice for the victims. 

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