A gay couple was brutally murdered in their home in Honduras this week in what’s being described as a homophobic hate crime.
Gerard Argiud, 80, lived in the northern city of Tela with his partner, Jorge Sarmiento (above). The men were shot and stabbed by a group of assailants who invaded their home. Local media is reporting the suspects, who are still at large, attacked the couple because of their sexual orientation.
Sarmiento, 40, was reportedly a prominent LGBT activist.
“Reports indicate the couple were attacked by several people because of their sexual orientation and position as prominent members of the LGBT community,” Atlantis Travel Group, which specializes in executive travel, stated in a warning to members. “LGBT travelers should avoid drawing attention to their sexuality. Members should remain vigilant to their surroundings at all times and adopt stringent precautions because of the high rates of violent and opportunistic crime.”
Same-sex activity is legal in Honduras, but crimes against LGBT people often go unreported or un-investigated. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, even if there is an investigation perpetrators are often unpunished.
Human rights groups estimate that in the last eight years more than 220 Hondurans have been killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2009, Activist Walter Trochez was assassinated for organizing dissent against the new regime. Three years later journalist Erick Alexander Martínez was strangled to death shortly after becoming the first openly gay man to run for Congress in Honduras. Last year, trans activist Paola Barraza,was shot to death outside her home in Comayagüela. Five months later, out politician Rene Martinez was also found strangled to death.