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No Murder Charges in Burning Death of Indonesian Trans Woman

Indonesian crime scene

LGBTQ rights advocates were shocked by police statements about the crime.

A group of men in Indonesia who burned a transgender woman to death will not be charged with murder, police say.

The 43-year-old woman, whose name was not released, died Sunday of injuries she suffered the previous day, Reuters reports. Police said Wednesday that they have identified six suspects and arrested three of them, but authorities contend the men did not intend to kill the victim.

North Jakarta Police Chief Budhi Herdi Susianto said the suspects poured gasoline over the woman, whom they had accused of theft, according to the news service. One of them then lit a match, causing the fire, but Susianto said the intention was not to burn her. He said the suspects could be charged with physical violence, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

LGBTQ rights advocates were shocked by the police's conclusions. "The police need take investigative actions that are impartial and independent. They can't seem like the perpetrators' lawyers," Usman Hamid, who handles Indonesian affairs for Amnesty International, told Reuters.

LGBTQ Indonesians have faced increased violence in recent years due to a rise in religious conservatism. "Thousands of transgender women, gay men, or lesbian women have been humiliated in Indonesia these past few years," Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told the news service. The woman's death "should be a reminder to many Indonesians that transgender women deserve justice and equal rights," he added.

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