Top human rights body in America to hear first case against an LGBT person

A leading human rights organisation in America is set to hear its first LGBT torture case.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard opening arguments this week after the case in question was brought to them in 2009 by UK anti-torture group, REDRESS.

Lawyers of the victim, Rojas, say he was detained by police in northern Peru in 2008 and the police forced him to strip before beating and raping him with a truncheon.

Rojas filed a criminal complaint against the police for sexual violence, abuse of authority and torture but was dismissed by authorities.

His lawyer, Carla Ferstman who heads REDRESS, said the commission will be asked to rule on the complaint of torture against Rojas who is in the 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, told Reuters.

The complaint was not taken seriously at first when it was filed, which is why it has taken so long for it to gain traction.

“LGBTI individuals are not only subjected to this type of ill-treatment in custody. Also, often they are not believed, they are not considered to be credible, they are laughed at,” Ferstman added.

The prosecutor representing Peru, Ivan Bazan, said that Rojas was lawfully detained.

“The state took steps to clarify the facts. In the end it was understood that the facts didn’t qualify for the crime to be comprehended as torture,” Bazan said, before adding that the case was closed.

Rojas is seeking compensation and prosecution of the defendants, as well as laws which will improve LGBT protection in Peru.