Kuwait’s “first trans woman” who accused the police of “sexually harassing” and “raping” her in an emotional video before her arrest has now been released after a social media campaign demanding justice.
Maha Almutairi, who is often described as the first openly trans woman in the Gulf state of Kuwait, was detained after uploading a tearful video to Snapchat detailing alleged sexual abuse at the hands of the country’s police.
After she was detained social media campaigns were launched and users created the hashtags #FreeMahaAlmutairi and #WhereIsMahaAlmutairi to call for her release.
Credit: CEN/Maha Almutairi
Archive Story: Kuwaits 1st Open Trans Woman: Cops Raped Me In Jail
However, her lawyer Shaikha Salmeen soon wrote on social media that she had lost contact with her client after Almutairi was transferred to public prosecution.
Netizen ‘Moe E’, who started an online campaign calling for ”justice” for Almutairi, also said: “Maha Almutairi has officially disappeared and every detention facility in Kuwait denies that they have her.
“Her lawyer @shaikha_Salmeen cannot find her let alone make sure that she is okay. She is NOT safe and most likely is being tortured right now.”
Lawyer Salmeen has now confirmed her client is “safe and sound” at home, posting a photo with Almutairi with the joking caption: “Alexa play Shania Twain cause “Man! I feel like a woman. (sic)”
Salmeen went on to say that the fight for the rights of transgender people in Kuwait must continue.
In the video which led to her detention, Almutairi told the camera that she was previously arrested for breaking Kuwait’s law against “imitating the appearance of the opposite sex” and sent to a men’s jail.
She goes on to say she was “sexually harassed and even raped by policemen” during her ordeal and added: “All this because I’m a girl? This is none of your business. … God created me as a girl.”
Many netizens have called for the abolishment of Article 198 in Kuwaiti law which has allowed police officers to arrest transgender people since it was passed in 2007.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) say Kuwaiti police have been known to use the “discriminatory law” to torture and sexually abuse transgender women.
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Story By: Alex Cope, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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