Veronica Bolina—a 25-year-old transgender woman in Brazil who was arrested for allegedly attacking her 73-year-old neighbor—was beaten beyond recognition while in jail, the Daily Mail reports. In photos that have circulated online, Bolina’s eyes are swollen shut, her face is puffed out and deformed, and her lips are swollen. There are also several lacerations on her face. Many in Brazil are outraged and suspect that it’s a hate crime.
According to the Daily Mail, there are different accounts of what happened. Police say that Bolina was attacked by other inmates when they saw her performing a sexual act on herself. Bolina, despite her gender identity, was placed in a male jail. The police statement notes that once Bolina was attacked by inmates, she allegedlly bit one of the officers who tried to break up the attack. Police claim that Bolina endured injuries from an officer who retaliated in self-defense.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that it was the police who attacked Bolina on three different occasions while she was in custody. It is also alleged that the police forcefully shaved Bolina’s hair.
According to the Daily Mail, LGBT-advocacy groups in Brazil have also put together a campaign to bring attention to Bolina’s beating and the injustices that transgender and gay people endure in Brazil. In one photo, Bolina can be seen lying partially naked and facedown on the floor with an armed police officer standing guard next to her. In another, more disturbing photo, viewers get a full glimpse of her severely deformed face and her bare breasts. Bolina is sitting down, with her arms handcuffed behind her.
Sao Paulo authorities say they are investigating the incident. In the meantime, Bolina has been moved to a detention camp and has been placed in an isolated cell.
Read more at the Daily Mail.