Peru opens torture investigation over trans man's death in Indonesia

·1 min read

By Marcelo Rochabrun

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian prosecutors have opened an investigation for alleged torture over the death in Indonesia last month of a trans Peruvian man who died while in custody in the tourist island of Bali, the country's public ministry said on Thursday.

Rodgrigo Ventocilla, 32, was a Peruvian graduate student at Harvard celebrating his honeymoon in Bali. His death has outraged LGBT activists who have accused Peruvian diplomats of not doing enough to protect him.

Ventocilla was detained at the airport in Bali in early August over alleged possession of marijuana. He died days later of a "failure of bodily functions," according to Indonesian police.

The public ministry did not say who it is investigating but Julio Arbizu, a lawyer for Ventocilla's family, said prosecutors are investigating the Peruvian diplomat in charge of consular services at the Indonesian embassy, as well as an Indonesian official.

The public added that the investigation is expected to last 8 months.

Peru's foreign ministry initially said Ventocilla's detention did not involve "transphobia" and that possessing marijuana is a serious offense in Indonesia.

But following pressure from local activists, it has since called on Indonesia to open its own investigation into the death.

Indonesia has said it considers the case closed and that no violence was involved in Ventocilla's death.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; editing by Richard Pullin)