Mexico City killing sparks fury over violence against women

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The gruesome murder of a 25-year-old woman in Mexico’s capital has unleashed outrage among authorities and rights groups after leaked photos of her mutilated body appeared on the front page of a newspaper.

Prosecutors will seek the maximum punishment for Ingrid Escamilla’s murder, the capital’s mayor said on Tuesday, adding a suspect had been arrested for the crime that took place at an apartment north of the city center at the weekend.

Marches to protest violence against women have intensified in recent months, with demonstrators setting government buildings on fire and daubing monuments with graffiti.

An average of 10 women were killed a day in Mexico in 2018, the year with the highest number of murders of women in three decades, according to official data. For women who suffered violence, more than 40% of them were victims of their partners.

Escamilla’s murder was a particularly horrific display of brutality in a country accustomed to regular violence.

Police found the young woman’s body skinned and without organs.

A man identified by media as the detained suspect, appeared in a video, streaked with blood, talking to police. Media said the man was the woman’s domestic partner. A police spokeswoman referred questions about the case to the prosecutor’s office.

A photograph of the victim featured on the cover of Pasala, a newspaper that splashes gory stories and photographs on its front pages, often with salacious headlines.

The headline accompanying Escamilla’s photograph read: “It was cupid’s fault.” Editors at Pasala did not respond to a request for comment.

The Mexico City prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday it was investigating six civil servants to determine who leaked the images.

Some social media users reacted to the gory photograph by posting pictures of Escamilla showing her smiling and confident, with neatly combed hair and bright lipstick.

“Out of respect to you and your family, this is the only way I want to remember you,” one user wrote on Twitter, where #IngridEscamilla and #JusticeForIngrid were trending topics.

The National Women’s Institute of Mexico (Inmujeres) condemned the publication of the photograph and the crime.

“Mexico is facing a tremendous challenge with respect to violence against women,” the institute said in a statement. “We urge the media to work with rigor and professionalism.”

Milenio Television reported that Escamilla had filed a complaint against her partner several months ago but later withdrew it.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Robert Birsel