Philippines: Activists burn US flag in custody demand for marine suspected of murdering trans woman
Dozens of protesters burned the US flag on Tuesday night outside the US embassy, demanding Washington hand over a marine suspected of the murder of a transgender woman.
On Monday it was reported that the marine, whose name has now been released as Joseph Scott Pemberton, was detained on board the amphibious assault ship Peleliu along with three other potential witnesses.
It came after 26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found dead by strangulation on Saturday night in Olongapo, with her head in the toilet.
Yesterday night, around 40 activists waved red flags and shouted “US troops out now.”
They called for the scrapping of an arrangement that allows the US to keep jurisdiction of military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines.
Corky Hope Marañan, spokesperson for Kapederasyon LGBT Sectoral Organisation, said: “We call for a thorough investigation and swift justice, and warn the government that we will remain vigilant against efforts to cover-up the facts of the case and give special treatment to the suspected perpetrator who was identified as a United States soldier.”
Naomi Fontanos, executive director of Gender and Development Advocates Filipinas, said: “While we know that the suspect has already been detained aboard the USS Peleliu which is here for joint military exercises, we call on the U.S. Embassy to ensure that justice prevails in this case.
“The U.S. Embassy has been a vocal supporter of lesbian gay bisexual and transgender human rights in the Philippines and now, more than ever, is the time for them to step up and show how genuinely committed they are to fighting for social justice for LGBT Filipinos.
“We are afraid that under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the US and the Philippines, the suspect might be able to use a gay or trans panic defense and go scot free.”