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After threats, Mexican activist dies after being burned by three men and a woman

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An advocate for the rights of people with disabilities died three days after a group set her on fire in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, the regional prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

Luz Raquel Padilla, 35, died on Tuesday from the “severity of the injuries” caused by three men and a woman who poured alcohol on her and set her on fire last Saturday in a public garden in the city of Zapopan, Jalisco prosecutor Luis Joaquín Méndez told a news conference, citing witnesses.

UN Women Mexico condemned this Wednesday on Twitter the “murder of the activist”, to whom the prosecution had granted protection measures after receiving threats from a neighbor. A few years ago, Padilla had also been a victim of domestic assault.

The case is being investigated as a possible femicide, said the judiciary, indicating that the neighbor who had threatened her was called to testify. According to the local press, the prosecutor said that the victim’s neighbor identified as Sergio “N” appeared before the authorities, being denounced for threats, crimes against dignity and insults.

Mother of a child on the autism spectrum, Padilla was part of Eu Cuido de México, a family organization with experience in caring for people with disabilities.

In her social networks, the victim had denounced some behavior of the neighbor, such as listening to loud music, which affected her son’s health.

On May 17, the activist posted pictures of threatening graffiti on the walls of her home on Twitter. “You will die Lus (sic)” and “I will burn you alive”, read the messages.

“How long will I have to live in fear that something could happen to me and my family and my abuser is still roaming the city with the danger of continuing to harm!” she posted at the time.

With burns on more than 90% of her body, Padilla was taken to a hospital in Guadalajara, where she died on Tuesday.

Padilla’s son was taken into the custody of his grandmother, whom the Jalisco government promised to support with child support, the prosecutor said.

Between January and June, the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System recorded 493 femicides across the country, 17 of which took place in Jalisco.

In Mexico, an average of 10 women are murdered daily, according to official data, most of them belonging to poor sectors. Many of these cases correspond to gender violence.

Furthermore, this year at least 43 people were lynched and 173 injured in mobs attacks, according to a report by the National Human Rights Commission.

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