Americas’ top human rights body hears first LGBT torture case

On Dec 2, 2016 the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported: BOGOTA – An eight-year legal battle by a gay Peruvian man who accused police of raping him went before the Americas’ leading human rights organization on Thursday in a landmark case to determine whether the alleged crime was torture.

Lawyers for Luis Alberto Rojas said he was arbitrarily detained by police in northern Peru in 2008. While in custody, police forced him to strip, hit him and raped him with a truncheon.

After his release, Rojas filed a criminal complaint against the police for sexual violence, abuse of authority and torture but his case was dismissed by state prosecutors, his lawyers said.

But three human rights groups, including UK-based anti-torture group REDRESS, took Rojas’ case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2009 – with opening arguments finally heard on Thursday.

Lawyer Carla Ferstman said it is the first time the commission was being asked to rule on a complaint of torture against a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“Our view is that in this type of context where an individual is targeted because of his sexual orientation, the abuse by police amounts to torture,” Ferstman, who heads REDRESS, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Peruvian police were not immediately available for comment.

Ferstman said when the complaint was first filed no one took it seriously.

Read more at Americas’ top human rights body hears first LGBT torture case | Reuters

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