December 17, 2016 at 12:42 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Hotel murder sparks concern among Dominican LGBT activists

Pego Alberto Jiménez De La Cruz, gay news, Washington Blade

Pego Alberto Jiménez De La Cruz was found dead on Dec. 14, 2016, inside a beachfront hotel in the Dominican Republic. (Photo courtesy of Yimbert Feliz)

Reports indicate a gay man was killed this week at a beachfront hotel in the Dominican Republic.

Yimbert Feliz of Voluntariado GLBT Dominicano, a Dominican LGBT advocacy group, wrote on his Facebook page that police found Pego Alberto Jiménez de la Cruz’s body at the Grand Bahia Principe Bávaro near the city Punta Cana on Wednesday.

Jiménez, 41, lived in Yásica Arriba in the province of Puerto Plata.

Jiménez’s body reportedly showed signs that he had been strangled to death. Media reports also indicate that police have speculated a “suspected lover” who was jealous killed Jiménez.

Punta Cana is roughly 125 miles east of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo.

Officials urged to ‘respect’ LGBT Dominicans’ rights

Feliz told the Washington Blade that Jiménez’s murder is the latest in a series of events that have sparked concern among the local LGBT community.

He said officers with the Dominican National Police in September arrested more than a dozen transgender sex workers and their clients in the city of La Romana. Feliz told the Blade the arrests took place after Evangelical churches complained they were “disturbing public order.”

Casa de Campo, an exclusive resort that is popular with celebrities, is located a few miles east of La Romana.

Gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster is among those who criticized the Oct. 4 arrest of more than a dozen young people who were gathered in a Santo Domingo park that is popular with LGBT Dominicans.

Feliz told the Blade that his group in 2015 documented at least five cases of police mistreating trans women. He said authorities concluded a trans woman who was stabbed and run over by a car was the victim of a car accident.

“We once again call upon the Attorney General (Jean Alain Rodríguez) and the National Police to respect the fundamental and constitutional rights of GLBT people,” said Voluntariado GLBT Dominicano in a statement it released after authorities found Jiménez’s body.

Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

Dominican LGBT youth at an oceanfront villa in Guayacanes, Dominican Republic, on June 20, 2015 (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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