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Indonesia: murder of trans woman burned alive must be urgently investigated

The Indonesian authorities must urgently investigate the ‘horrifying’ murder of a trans woman called Mira, who was accused of stealing a truck driver’s phone and wallet before being burned alive in North Jakarta yesterday (6 April), Amnesty International has said. 

Two alleged perpetrators are in custody, while three others remain on the run.

Usman Ham, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said:

“This despicable murder must be investigated urgently. It would not be the first time that LGBTI people in Indonesia have been violently targeted simply for who they are.

“Without prompt action from the authorities to cast light on this horrifying crime and bring perpetrators to justice, transgender people in Indonesia will feel even further neglected and vilified by their government.

“The authorities must also take this appalling murder as a wake-up call and repeal its laws that criminalise specific gender identities.”

Increasing crackdown on LGBTI people

The Indonesian LGBTI community have faced increasing violence and intimidation from authorities over the past few years.

On 10 January 2020, the Mayor of Depok, Mohammad Idris, asked authorities including the municipal police (Satpol PP) to sweep rented residencies (including rented houses, apartments, and dorms), in order to stop what he called ‘immoral’ acts. He labelled his campaign a ‘prevention toward the spread of LGBTI’ in his city.

Other cases of violence include:

  • On 27 January 2018, police raided beauty salons where several trans people worked. Individuals assumed to be trans women by the North Aceh Police Force were arbitrary arrested, humiliated and tortured. Although released without charge the next day, the individuals remain deeply traumatised, with some having lost their jobs and others being forced to flee due to concerns for their safety.
  • Ten women accused of same-sex relations after one of them posted a photo of her kissing and hugging another woman on Facebook were arrested in 2018 in Padang, West Sumatra.
  • A trans woman named Zoya (30) from Bekasi, West Java, was burned to death after being accused of stealing an amplifier from a local mosque in 2017.

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