Two of the men in Indonesia accused of burning a transgender woman to death have been charged with aggravated assault for the horrific crime.
The violence took place on April 4 after the men accused Mira of stealing a truck driver’s phone and wallet.
Late last week, North Jakarta police announced they had apprehended three of the six suspects, given the pseudonyms AP, RT and AH, Tempo.co reported.
North Jakarta police chief Budhi Herdi Susianto said the suspects confronted Mira and beat her with a wooden log. They then covered her with gasoline to intimidate her into confessing to the alleged theft.
After she protested her innocence, Budhi claimed the men pulled out a lighter to threaten her.
“After AP poured gasoline all over her, [suspect] PD threatened the victim by pulling out a lighter while saying, ‘Watch out, I’m going to burn you, I’m going to burn you,” he told Tempo.co.
Budhi said fire from the lighter inadvertently set off the petrol, burning Mira alive. Budhi said the alleged perpetrators tried to put out the fire but then fled the scene.
Nearby locals later rushed Mira to hospital with burns to 60-70 percent of her body but she died the next day.
Two of the six men involved are facing the assault charges. Indonesia’s laws state an aggravated assault causing the death of a victim is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Amnesty Indonesia blasts ‘lacklustre’ police investigation
Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid told the Jakarta Post he is disappointed by the “lacklustre” investigation into Mira’s horrifying death.
“We still maintain that what the suspects did was carry out a despicable murder,” he told the Post.
“The police should have conducted a more robust investigation, instead of taking the suspects at their word.”
Hamid said the assault charges are “premature” and he believes the suspects intended to “do more than just threaten” Mira.
He said the men had gone out of their way to obtain the gasoline before confronting her.
Last week, Australian advocates wrote to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to call for justice for Mira.
Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome also called on Widodo to take a stand against hate crime in his country.
“At a time of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have a duty to ensure fear and uncertainty don’t trigger hatred and violence against minorities,” Croome said.
“Indonesia is one of the world’s largest democracies and its leadership against hate crime will echo around the world.”
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