Weeks after reporting being raped by her roommate at Arizona's Eloy Detention Center, a transgender immigration detainee was sent to solitary confinement. A number of activist groups are calling the move retailiation for reporting the assault.
According to a joint press release from the Arcoiris Liberation Team, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Transgender Law Center, detainee Marichuy Leal Gamino was punished after coming forward about her recent sexual assault by her male cellmate. On August 4, after being forced to live in the same facility in which she was assaulted, Gamino informed facility personnel that she felt suicidal. Then Eloy security reportedly put Gamino in solitary confinement for two days.
The groups highlight a 2010 report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that says "use of of confinement to protect a threatened population amounts to a punative measure." Reports also suggest that prolonged periods of solitary confinement have the potential to inflict lasting psychological damage, an increased likelihood of future suicide attempts, depression, insomnia, and hallucinations.
According to one trans former Eloy detainee, Gamino's experience isn't unique.
"What's happening to Marichuy is not so different from what I went through, or what I saw other trans women in Eloy experience," said Karolina Lopez in a statement. "I was harassed by two men, then placed in solitary confinement. Officials said it was for my own security, but they treated me like I had done something wrong. I almost went crazy, I still have fear of small spaces, and of officials. If ICE actually cares about Marichuy's security, they should let her go."
Arcoiris Liberation Team, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Transgender Law Center have gathered the support of more than 60 high-profile LGBT and human rights organizations in asking for Gamino's immediate release, ending her indefinite detention, and allowing her to have a hearing.