The grieving mother of a transgender Harvard student who died while in custody in Bali, Indonesia, has claimed her son was tortured by police officers.
Ana Ventosilla from Lima, Peru told the Harvard Crimson that Indonesian police attempted to blackmail her family, demanding $200,000 for the release of her son, 32-year-old Rodrigo Ventocilla Ventosilla.
Mr Ventocilla was arrested on August 6 at Denpasar Airport after arriving in Bali to celebrate his honeymoon with his husband, Sebastian Maralano. He was reportedly arrested on drug charges and died on August 11 at a hospital where he had been taken after falling ill two days earlier.
said Ms. Ventosilla crimson that in one of the few phone calls she was allowed to make to her son, he told her the police were asking for money to release him.
“Mom, I will negotiate. I will tell them that I [will] give them $13,000,” Ms. Ventosila said her son told him before the amount rose to $200,000 within hours.
Maralano arrived on a later flight and was arrested when he asked authorities about his wife’s legal affairs, the family said in a statement.
Since then, Mr. Ventocilla’s family has claimed that the couple was not allowed to contact lawyers hired by the family or Harvard students who arrived on the resort island to help the newlyweds.
His mother said so too crimson that the newlyweds were victims of “physical and psychological violence” by the police.
Mr. Ventocilla died on August 11. The family said during a press conference on Monday that Indonesian officials refused to perform an autopsy.
Meanwhile, in a statement from Indonesia’s embassy in Peru, the South Asian country claimed there was no discrimination surrounding Mr Ventocilla’s arrest and that he had been taken to a hospital after consuming unconfiscated prescription drugs and marijuana, it said. the Infobae.
He died of “insufficiency of bodily functions,” according to the statement.
The Indonesian embassy in Peru also claimed that Mr Ventocilla’s family had refused an autopsy.
On Monday, Mr. Ventocilla’s family announced that they had filed a lawsuit against the Peruvian authorities for not providing resources to Mr. Ventocilla and Mr. Marallano quickly.
They also sued the Peruvian consulate in Bali, which they said was informed of the couple’s arrest on the first day, but responded to pleas from Mr Ventocilla’s family only after his death.
They asked Peruvian authorities to press Indonesia for a thorough investigation into Mr Ventocilla’s death.
Although authorities in Peru initially rejected the requests, outrage over the lack of clarity about the circumstances in which Mr Ventocilla died prompted them to ask Indonesia to launch an investigation. Washington Post mentionted.
“The first communication was really aggravating and humiliating for us,” Ms Ventosila said crimson. “It touched our souls.”
Mr. Ventocilla had just completed an internship in South Africa for the non-profit organization Harambee. He was about to return to Harvard’s Cambridge campus, where he was getting his masters in public administration.
Mr Marallano has since returned to Peru, while Mr Ventocilla’s body was due to be repatriated on August 29. The independent Mr. Ventosilla’s family has been contacted for comment.