Charged with femicide in Argentina, he asks to be prosecuted as a woman

In Argentina, a Brazilian charged with femicide said he perceived himself as a woman and asked to be judged as such. The request was denied.

Circuito Chico de Bariloche
Road of Circuito Chico de Bariloche, a touristic area where Eduarda Santos was found dead in February 2022 | © Bariloche turismo

On February 2022, Fernando Alves Ferreira shot Eduarda Santos de Almeida six times as she exited the car after arguing with him. Four bullets hit her in the back. The Brazilian woman died from her wounds soon after and was found on the road near Lago Escondido where they stayed for a trip, a two-hour drive south of San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina‘s Río Negro province.

The accused murderer turned himself in two days after the crime. Fernando Alves Ferreira, also a Brazilian national, has been in preventive detention in the Bariloche prison, awaiting trial since then.

He confessed his act in court but pleaded it was not premeditated. He argued he did it for his and his children’s safety. He also mentioned she had issues involving drug trafficking and said he preferred being in prison to returning to Brazil and didn’t want his children to go to Brazil because they would die there.

The two Brazilian nationals met a few years ago. Mr. Alves Ferreira and his male partner met Ms. Santos so that she could become the surrogate mother of their children. Ms. Santos then left Brazil with the couple’s twin children for Argentina. Mr. Alves Ferreira’s partner died in 2021.

In February last year, Eduarda Santos lived in Llao Llao near Bariloche with her 1-month-old baby, the two-year-old twins and their father, Mr. Alves Ferreira, who would become her murderer.

Mr. Alves Ferreira was charged with femicide, murder with premeditation, and use of a firearm owned without authorization.

The prosecutor Martín Lozada asked the court to consider charges of femicide because the relationship between the two was typical of a dominant position of the man over the woman with economic and emotional dependency. She didn’t have friends, family or work, depending on Mr. Alves Ferreira, who would have considered her an object, referring to the fact she was a surrogate mother.

He recused the prosecutor’s view last year and said: “Eduarda was not submissive; quite the opposite. I was widowed seven months ago. The violence we suffered at home after Eduarda’s arrival was constant.”

In Argentina, femicide can lead to a prison life sentence since 2012, whereas a murder with no aggravating factor can lead to twenty-five years in prison.

But in the court hearing on April 14, Fernando Alves Ferreira said he perceived himself as a woman since his adolescence and should be called Amanda Alves Ferreira from now on.

His lawyer argued the accused underwent aesthetic surgery – liposuction, rhinoplasty, she also slimed her waist – before the murder and had started changing her gender identity. Consequently, the defense requested to drop the charge of gender violence because only a man can perform femicide.

In Argentina, the Gender Identity Law enacted in 2012 recognizes the right for people to register or change their gender identity on identity cards and passports with a simple administration procedure. It doesn’t require medical authorization, surgery or hormonal therapy.

But for the prosecutor’s office, the accused considered himself male when he committed the murder, with no evidence he considered himself a woman. Mr. Lozada recalled the defendant identified himself as Fernando Alves Ferreira at the hearing to impute charges and at the hearing after, according to the Argentine newspaper Diario de Río Negro.

The judge confirmed the charge of femicide.

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