Police say the beating and burning to death of Mira, an Indonesian transgender woman was accidental and the men arrested for the crime will not be charged.
On Tuesday Planet Trans reported that Mira was tortured and burned alive Saturday in Cilincing, northern Jakarta.
Yuni, a 48-year-old activist at transgender advocacy group Yayasan Srikandi Sejati who was also Mira’s friend told the Jakarta Tribune news that a truck driver told neighbors that Mira had stolen his wallet and phone.
He then broke into her apartment, but Mira wasn’t there, and after searching couldn’t find either item.
Shortly after, the driver returned with five gang members. Vice reported that Orin, Mira’s friend who was with her during the attack, said that the men worked as the area’s unofficial “security guards.”
The gang beat her but she insisted that she was innocent’
“[One of the gang members] told Mira, ‘Will you confess? If not, I will burn you,’” Orin told The Jakarta Post. Another gang member then poured two litres of gasoline on Mira and set her on fire. While still on fire, Mira ran to her home, where she was spotted by her neighbors and taken to a hospital.
Mira died at the Koja hospital on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Police said on Wednesday they believed the suspects who set the fire had not burned her intentionally. They identified six suspects, three of whom had been arrested. reports Reuters news service
Budhi Herdi Susianto, the North Jakarta police chief, said the suspects had accused the woman of stealing and doused her with petrol. One of the suspects had lit a match, but did not intend to burn her, the police chief said.
The suspects could be charged with physical violence, carrying a maximum sentence of 12 years.
Usman Hamid, the Indonesian representative of Amnesty International, told Reuters it seemed too early for the police to conclude that there was no intent to set the woman on fire.
“The police need take investigative actions that are impartial and independent. They can’t seem like the perpetrators’ lawyers,” he said.
Usman Hamid called on authorities to investigate in a press release.
“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 criminalize specific gender identities.”