Pakistani transgender women at a protest
In a shocking incident, police in Saudi Arabia are accused of torturing and killing two transgender women.
According to local human rights groups, police raided a house in Riyadh and arrested 35 transgender people.
During the arrests, two of the women, Amna, 35, and Meeno, 26, both originally from Pakistan, were allegedly thrown into sacks and beaten with sticks till they died.
“We want information because right now this is a very confusing situation and many in the transgender community in Saudi Arabia are feeling delicate and scared,” Qamar Naseem, an activist from the Blue Veins group, told the Independent.
“Gender fluid people are treated badly, sometimes flogged, and if someone is arrested on the same law for a second time they can be executed.”
It is believed that eleven of those arrested were released after paying a massive 150,000 riyals fine (about R522,383). Twenty-two other individuals remained in custody.
The surviving victims were charged with cross-dressing and for having same-sex relations. Police said that officers had kept the house under surveillance for some time and that women’s clothing and jewellery had been confiscated during the raid.
Saudi Arabia is one of five countries in the world that has been known to execute LGBT people (although eight allow for the extreme penalty in their laws, the rest do not enforce it).
Most commonly, those found guilty of homosexuality or “cross dressing” in Saudi Arabia are punished with imprisonment, lashings and banishment. These sentences are based largely on the whim of Islamic judges and clerics hearing individual cases.