Cecilie Johnsen

The torture of trans woman Azul Rojas Marín took place in 2008.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has found Peru guilty of the torture of trans woman Azul Rojas Marín back in 2008, in a landmark case. It was the first time the court had ruled on the torture of an LGBTQ person.

In 2008, Marín was detained by Peruvian police in the town of Casa Grande. Police stripped her and hit and raped her with a truncheon. Her legal team, Redress, also say she was verbally abused for her sexual orientation and robbed of her belongings.

When she filed a complaint, state prosecutors dismissed it. This caused activists to take her case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The court’s ruling was made on 12 March, but only became public last week. They found that Marín had been detained “without a motive” and that it was based on “discrimination” and was therefore “illegal and arbitrary.”

In their ruling, the court added: “[Ms Rojas Marín] was forcibly stripped naked, beaten on several occasions, tortured and raped… constituting an act of torture against the victim. Consequently, the Court has declared Peru’s international responsibility for the violation of [her] rights.”

The court ruled that anti-LGBTQ prejudice in Peru was what led to state agents to carry out the attack. They ordered the Peruvian government to pay Marín undisclosed damages, provide her with psychological treatment and adopt new protocols in the investigation of attacks on LGBTQ people, as well as to begin tracking statistics of violence against the community.

Redress called the decision “ground-breaking” not only because of the damages given to Marín but also that the government was ordered to “prevent these crimes being repeated.”

In a statement, Marín said she had “no words to describe how I feel.” She added: “After all that happened, a court finally believed in my word.”

Speaking to Reuters, local LGBTQ activist Andre Mere Rivera, said: “It is a very emblematic case. It’s historic because it classifies the violence received by this woman as torture.

“It makes the state responsible for the violence and discrimination that (the LGBT+ community) has historically suffered and continues to suffer.”