Three women dead after attack on lesbian couples

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Three women have died after a room in a guest house in Argentina containing two lesbian couples was set on fire.

Three women died from their injuries after the May 6 attack in Buenos Aires.

Local news initially reported that a woman, 52-year-old Pamela Cobas, was killed in the attack. The Buenos Aires Herald now says Mercedes Roxana Figueroa, 52, died on Wednesday (May 8) after suffering severe burns. Andrea Amarante, 42, died on Sunday (May 12). The fourth victim of the attack remains in hospital.

According to Maria Rachid of the Argentine LGBT Federation, the fourth woman “has recovered and has a good prognosis.”

Although police have not yet revealed the suspected motive, the LGBT Federation described the attack as “abhorrent”.

Police say the fire was started with rags doused with a flammable substance. The guest house in Barracas, Buenos Aires, was then forced to evacuate after the fire spread from the room the lesbian couples shared to the rest of the building.

A 62-year-old man was arrested and subsequently taken to hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted neck wound, before being released to police custody. He reportedly lived in the same boarding house as the women.

On Friday (May 10), a protest was held outside the Argentine National Congress building, demanding justice for the victims.

Argentina’s LGBT Federation has described the attack as a hate crime and highlighted the anti-LGBTQ+ policies of the current Argentine government.

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

“The only spaces where those of us who are victims of these attacks can take refuge are being emptied or eliminated by the current administration… we will support (the victims) and help them and their families in whatever they need, and will follow the case in court so that justice is served.”