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Police admit they tore up the release forms for arrested trans girl

The police chief said the girl should stay detained longer as a 'deterrent to being trans'

Police admit they tore up the release forms for arrested trans girl
Tarsinem and Neneng are reunited in Jakarta. | Photo: Warta Kota/ Hamdi Putra

Police in Jakarta, Indonesia admitted they tore up an official letter of release for an arrested trans girl. They also admitted they ignored her mother’s requests for her to release.

Neneng is a young trans woman who police detained last week when she stopped for a coffee after finishing work at a nearby beauty salon.

She was thrown into social housing for rehabilitation but her mother, Tarnisem, tried to get her out. Tarnisem spent three days going through the bureaucratic process to have Neneng released.

When she presented the paperwork to Duri Kosambi subdistrict police, its head, Irwansyah Alam, tore the paperwork up.

‘I tore the document so that [Tarnisem] and others wouldn’t misuse it,’ Irwansyah told Warta Kota.

‘Just let [Neneng] spend some more time in the social house to create a deterrent effect [to being transgender].’

Free Neneng

Tarnisem has been distraught since her daughter’s detention, especially because she was the only breadwinner in the family.

‘I visited him [Irwansyah] twice to ask him to sign the letter. On Thursday [1 March], he tore the letter while saying, “I don’t want to handle this kind of problem”,’ Tarnisem said.

Tarnisem eventually filled out the paperwork again and was reunited with Neneng on Monday 5 March.

According to the Jakarta Post, Neneng was released to her mother on Wednesday night.

Neneng’s arrest and sentence to rehabilitation in social housing came only a couple of days before two men were detained for allegedly being gay.

Also in west Jakarta, vigilantes raided the men’s home and handed them over to police. Local police then sent them to social housing for ‘prayer rehab’.

Neneng and the men’s arrest follow a disturbing two-year crackdown on Indonesia’s LGBTI communities.


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