crime

A Transgender Woman Was Burned Alive by a Group of Men in Jakarta

They accused her of stealing and tortured her to confess.
translated by Jade Poa
07 April 2020, 9:58am
trans woman burned alive jakarta indonesia
Intolerant groups hosting an anti-LGBTQ demonstration in Yogyakarta in 2016. For illustrative purposes only. Photo via SURYO WIBOWO/AFP

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.

A 42-year-old transgender woman named Mira was burned alive on Saturday, April 4 in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta after a group of men accused her of stealing from one of them.

A truck driver who parked near her home suspected that Mira allegedly stole his wallet and phone. Yuni Irawan, Mira’s friend and activist at the transgender advocate group Srikandi Sejati Foundation, said the driver then entered Mira’s residence while she was not there.

He left when he did not find what he was looking for. Shortly after, five gang members approached Mira.

“When the truck driver left, he probably had his friends abduct and intimidate Mira. There were five of them. Because Mira didn’t take anything, she went with them,” said Irawan.

According to Orin, Mira’s friend who was with her during the incident, the men worked as the area’s unofficial “security guards.”

The men beat Mira as a way to make her confess that she stole the wallet and phone, 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 neighbours and taken to a hospital. Mira passed away at noon on Sunday, April 5.

On Tuesday, April 7, police announced that they detained a number of the perpetrators, but they did not disclose how many suspects were being pursued. In a press release, human rights group Sandya Institute revealed that two of the five perpetrators had been caught.

This case adds to a long list of crimes against Indonesia’s trans community. According to a report by the LGBTQ non-governmental organisation Arus Pelangi, 1,859 cases of persecution against transgender individuals were left unsolved between 2006 and 2018. This includes the shooting of eight transgender women in a Jakarta park in 2011.