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Thugs who poured petrol on a trans woman and burned her alive charged only with aggravated assault after ‘lacklustre’ investigation

Vic Parsons April 10, 2020
Thugs who burned trans woman alive charged with aggravated assault

Muslim protesters march against the LGBT+ community in Banda Aceh, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, in 2017. (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

A group of six men who beat up a trans woman, splashed her with petrol, dropped a lighter on her and watched as she burned have been charged with aggravated assault in Indonesia.

Usman Hamid, director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said he was disappointed in the authorities’ “lacklustre” investigation into the woman’s death, which he said had resulted in a relatively light assault charge.

The charges fall under part of Indonesia’s criminal code that stipulates individuals who are found to have collectively used lethal violence against a person can face up to 12 years in prison, according to the Jakarta Post.

“We still maintain that what the suspects did was carry out a despicable murder,” Usman told the Post.

“The police should have conducted a more robust investigation, instead of taking the suspects at their word.”

Known locally as Mira, the 42-year-old woman was set upon by a group of men who accused her of stealing a truck drivers wallet.

Fact that attackers had petrol shows it was premeditated, Amnesty director says.

When they couldn’t find the wallet on her, North Jakarta Police chief Sr Comr Budhi Herdi Susianto said that they beat her with a wooden log before dousing her in petrol to try to intimidate her into confessing to the theft.

“After AP [one of the suspects] poured gasoline all over her, PD [another suspect] threatened the victim by pulling out a lighter while saying, ‘Watch out, I’m going to burn you, I’m going to burn you,'” Susianto said.

Hamid said the fact that the group had got hold of petrol before the attack showed that they obviously intended to “do more than just threaten” her.

Mira was set on fire when the lighter was dropped on her, and burned alive. She was taken to hospital but died the next day.

Andreas Harsono, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, said the incident was indicative of a rise in hostility and vilification of the LGBT+ community.

“Her death should be a reminder to many Indonesians that transgender women deserve justice and equal rights,” he said.

 

 

More: Indonesia, male violence, trans women, violence against trans women, violence against women

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