Accused of femicide: “Call me Lorena”

Three years ago he confessed to having killed his cousin Vanesa, 21, his age, with thirty hammer blows while she was alone in the house. Now his case, at the trial that began on Monday at the Court of Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, is shaking Spain. In the dock, Jonathan de Jesús Robaina Santana, for whom the prosecution is claiming 25 years for aggravated murder, asked to be called Lorena.

She claims to feel like a woman and to have initiated a gender change process. He admitted the murder, but denied sexual abuse of the victim, to escape an extra sentence of 16 years. Framed as femicide, with the aggravating circumstance of gender-based violence, the trial sees the Canary Islands Institute for equality as a civil party in the accusation. The new line of defense of the murderer I confess, a few days after the approval in the regional Parliament, on May 26, of the so-called “trans law”, which allows gender self-determination without a transition path or psychological accompaniment. A circumstance that has inflamed the already heated debate on the legislation proposed at national level by the Minister for Equality Irene Montero, of Podemos, from whom the Socialist Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has distanced herself. And that in mid-May he had not obtained the green light for the parliamentary discussion, due to the abstention of the PSOE. In 11 of the 17 Iberian regions, laws are already in force that allow the change of sex at the registry office from the age of 16 without medical reports or treatments. But their application is limited precisely by the lack of framework legislation. And now the case of Jonathan-Lorena materializes the risks of legal insecurity and “non-protection” of women denounced by feminist collectives. From the prefecture of the Canaries they confirm that, according to the prison protocols, the accused was transferred to a “protected form”. But that «the recognition of the requested gender identity will not imply that of a new legal identity, inside or outside the penitentiary precincts». The Montero draft, legal sources point out, actually provides that “the rectification” of sex and the change of name “will not alter the ownership of legal rights and obligations prior to the registration of the change in the register”. But the murderer’s defense has already paved the way for a different interpretation, arguing that his client’s “suffering” “totally nullified his cognitive abilities.”

And, therefore, the premeditated action of the murderer must be excluded, recognized instead by the experts “capable of discerning good from evil”.


Accused femicide Call Lorena

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