Bali police deny responsibility in death of Rodrigo Ventosilla

Rodrigo Ventosilla bali police
Image: Twitter

Bali police have denied responsibility for the death of Harvard University student and Peruvian trans activist Rodrigo Ventosilla in police custody.

Rodrigo Ventosilla and his husband Sebastián Marallano travelled to Bali for their honeymoon.

Customs police detained him on arrival after finding cannabis-derived products in his luggage. Two days later, Rodrigo was rushed to a local hospital after experiencing stomach pain and vomiting.

On August 11, he died.

Police described the death as a ‘failure of bodily functions’. They said he fell ill after ingesting medication aside from those they confiscated.

However, Rodrigo Ventosilla’s family claim the drugs he was arrested for were mental health medications supplied on prescription.

They said Bali police refused Rodrigo and his spouse “vital human rights such as health, freedom, [and] access to legal defence.”

Violence… racial discrimination and transphobia

The family accused the police of “violence… racial discrimination and transphobia.”

They said the police denied lawyers and fellow Harvard students access to Rodrigo during his imprisonment.

“The Indonesian police obstructed access to the hospital at all times to the lawyers hired by the family, as well as the Harvard students who came to their aid.”

Rodrigo Ventosilla was a founding member of the Peruvian trans rights organization Diversidades Trans Masculinas. Recently, he undertook a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University.

Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said that the school “supports the family’s call for an immediate and thorough investigation and for the public release of all relevant information.”

Also: Ian Thorpe’s former boyfriend Ryan Channing died suddenly in Bali earlier this year.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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