LIMA, Peru — A 19-year-old gay man in Peru has been tortured, brutally murdered and dismembered, according to local reports that surfaced earlier this week.
Joel Sanchez Molero was tortured, beheaded and had his genitals, fingers and toes cut off before his his body was set on fire, according to a statement by Gio Infante, director of the Peruvian advocacy group Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL).
Despite the body being unrecognizable, police identified the victim as Molero due to a wristband on his right hand.
The murder took place in the town of Chachapoyas, in the remote Peruvian Amazon region on November 22, but only published in the local press earlier this week.
Molero’s last living moments were captured by the CCTV footage of a local nightclub he visited, showing he was approached by Jorge Luis Sánchez Dávila, who he left with around 3:00 a.m.
Dávila has surrendered himself to the police, but claims he committed the murder in “self defense.”
Police officials are now seeking Dávila’s accomplices, and arrest warrants have been issued.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended Molero’s funeral procession demanding justice.
Promsex, a local charity, documented, 12 cases of LGBT people being murdered in 2012 and 17 in 2011. According to MHOL, a total of 249 LGBT people have been murdered from 2006 to 2010 in Peru.
Earlier this year, Peruvian lawmakers excluded LGBT people from a bill against discrimination and hate crimes.
Its sponsor and author, Congressman Carlos Bruce, blamed the powerful religious lobbies in the country, particularly the evangelical Church, for repeatedly blocking this legislation.
Manuel Narváez Quispe, of the Amazonian LGBT Association Chacha Libre, said in a statement, “Not only we demand justice for Joel, we demand a stop to hate crimes.”
“Schools should promote human rights and respect for all people, and the government must combat homophobic violence through awareness campaigns, and apply laws to guarantee our fundamental right to life,” he said.