The rape and murder of the 16-year-old girl fueled a movement across Latin America demanding an end to violence against women.
A court in Argentina has convicted two men for the 2016 rape and murder of 16-year-old Lucia Perez, a case that has become emblematic of a movement fighting violence against women and girls in the region.
The murder of Perez in Mar del Plata sparked widespread anger in Argentina and became a symbol of the Ni Una Menos movement (not one less) demanding action against femicide.
The movement began in Argentina in 2015 and has spread across Latin America, where at least 4,473 women were murdered in 2021, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Matias Farias was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for sexual abuse, supplying narcotics and femicide. The court determined that Juan Pablo Offidani was an accomplice to the crime and sentenced him to eight years.
In November 2018, the two men were convicted of drug trafficking, but the rape and femicide charges were dismissed as judges determined it could not be determined whether consent had been given.
The ruling sparked outrage and was overturned by an appeals court in 2020 for “lack of a gender perspective” and “incompatibility” with international human rights law.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez visited Perez’s family this year on International Women’s Day. On Twitter, he called for justice in the case and criticized the country’s justice system for what he called a lack of gender perspective in the previous trial.
“In the name of all the other girls we also miss, we are not going to allow impunity,” Fernandez said.
Marta Montero, Perez’s mother, told Al Jazeera last year that her daughter’s absence was still painful. “Your soul hurts. You feel it in your body. Your body hurts. It’s just awful,” she said.
But Montero vowed to keep fighting for justice. She and her husband, Guillermo Perez, started an NGO that tracks femicides as well as advocates for the victims.
“We have had incredible support, not just in Mar del Plata, but across the country. And we never stopped fighting,” Montero said in 2022. “That’s very important. Not only that the family does not stop fighting, but that they believe in what they are fighting for.”