Police have confirmed that five thugs burned a transgender woman alive in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
The group attacked a 42-year-old woman named Mira in Cilincing, which is an historic district in the north of Jakarta.
The attack happened on Saturday (4 April) and Mira died in hospital the next day.
Yuni is a 48-year-old activist at transgender advocacy group Yayasan Srikandi Sejati and one of Mira’s friends.
She told the Jakarta Post that before the attack, a truck driver had parked his vehicle near Mira’s home.
But neighbors said the truck driver accused Mira of stealing his bag, containing his cell phone and wallet. However, when the driver searched Mira, he didn’t find the items.
Despite this, neighbors say the driver got more angry and a mob gathered. The gang interrogated and attacked Mira but she insisted she was innocent.
Meanwhile, the thugs also allegedly ignored neighbors who also said Mira was innocent.
‘Will you confess? If not, I will burn you’
Another friend of Mira’s, named Orin, was also a witness to the early morning attack. Orin claimed to the Jakarta Post that the gang members worked as informal security guards for trucks parking in the neighborhood.
And Orin said that after beating Mira and still not finding the truck driver’s property, two of the gang members poured about two litres of gasoline on her.
Orin said one of the gang members asked her: ‘Will you confess? If not, I will burn you.’
At that point, one of the mob dropped a lighter on Mira, setting her on fire. Terrified neighbors said she groaned in pain.
Mira went to Koja District Hospital for treatment but died the next day.
Police have confirmed the incident but not further details. Local media have reported that two people have been arrested but three more remain at large.
Cilincing Police’s head of criminal investigation division, said: ‘We are still searching for the perpetrators. Please pray for us so we can find them.’
Meanwhile a neighbor, Hikmah, paid the costs of Mira’s hospitalization, autopsy and burial.
LGBT+ people have few rights in Indonesia and no discrimination protections. Trans people have the right to change gender with surgery and judicial approval.
Meanwhile homosexuality is legal in most parts of the country. But the state of Aceh punishes gay sex with floggings and it is also criminalized in a few other areas.
Moreover, police have been using pornography laws to persecute LGBT+ people and politicians are pushing for further criminalization.