Vanesa Lorena Ledesma
oil on canvas
24" x 12"
$600 (framed or unframed)

(Purchasing Information)


Vanesa Lorena Ledesma was arrested in Córdoba, Argentina, on 11 February 2000. Five days later she was dead. A police report recorded that she had died as a result of a ''cardiac arrest''. However, an autopsy reportedly revealed that her body showed signs of torture including indications that she had been beaten while handcuffed; severe bruising to the feet, arms, back and shoulders were recorded. There also appeared to be a discrepancy of at least a day between the actual time of death and that recorded by the police responsible for her detention.

Vanesa Lorena Ledesma, a 47-year-old transvestite whose legal name was Miguel Angel Ledesma, was an active member of the United Transvestites Association of Córdoba. She was detained in a bar during a fight and charged with damaging the bar. At the police station she was segregated from other prisoners; apparently the reason given for holding her in incommunicado detention was not to protect her, but to avoid other detainees having to share a cell with a ''sick'' person.

Lesbian, gay and transgendered people continue to be the victims of harassment and discrimination at the hands of the Argentine police. Provincial legislation, which allows the police to detain people for acts that are not criminal offences, has frequently been used to detain transvestites, transsexuals, gay men and lesbians. There are concerns that these powers of detention have facilitated torture or ill-treatment.

(Biographical material provided by Amnesty International)

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