Activists call for independent autopsy of trans man Rodrigo Ventocilla


Rodrigo Ventocilla death Harvard Bali
Image: Harvard Kennedy School

LGBTQIA+ activists in Peru are calling for an independent autopsy, after the death of trans man Rodrigo Ventocilla in Bali.

Protesters have rallied outside the prosecutor’s office in Lima, Peru to demand an autopsy be performed on a Peruvian transgender man who died earlier this month after being detained in Bali.

Rodrigo Ventocilla, 32, was a Peruvian transgender activist and graduate student at Harvard University.

Rodrigo died on August 11, after being in police custody since flying into Bali on August 6.

He was allegedly arrested after authorities found a herb grinder, items they suspected contained cannabis and two pill tablets in his luggage.

His spouse Sebastián Marallano, was also detained when he tried to help Ventocilla.

The couple were in Bali on their honeymoon.

An alleged ‘act of racial discrimination and transphobia’

Ventocilla’s body has been taken from Indonesia and is expected to arrive in Lima on September 2.

His relatives want officials in Peru to determine the cause of death, saying they suspect Indonesian authorities abused Ventocilla.

Indonesian officials deny any misconduct.

“He was detained because of his gender identity. His identity document did not match his appearance, Luzmo Henríquez, a representative of the family of the deceased, told The Associated Press.

“That made him a suspect for the Indonesian police. He was extorted, tortured and has died.”

The Harvard Crimson has been following the story and has been in contact with Rodrigo’s mother Ana Ventocilla.

She has been leading the calls for an independent autopsy of her son.

“Really, we need an investigation by the Peruvian government,” Ms Ventocilla said.

“So we can bury Rodrigo with dignity and clear his name.”

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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