Kuwait’s “first trans woman” has accused the police of “sexually harassing” and “raping” her in an emotional video after she was arrested for breaking the country’s strict gender laws.
Maha Almutairi, who is often described as the first openly trans woman in the Gulf state of Kuwait, made the accusations in a tearful video posted to Snapchat.
In the video, a sobbing Almutairi tells the camera that she was arrested for breaking Kuwait’s law against “imitating the appearance of the opposite sex” and sent to a men’s jail.
Credit: CEN/Maha Almutairi
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.”
The clip was widely shared on social media and users created the hashtag #FreeMahaAlmutairi to show their support for the trans woman.
Almutairi reportedly said she was going to hand herself into the authorities at the end of the video but netizen ‘Moe E’, who started an online campaign calling for ”justice” for Almutairi, has now 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.”
The trans woman’s current location remains unclear.
Many users 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.
Netizen ‘Tally’ wrote: “Being a transgender is a crime but rape isn’t a crime?
ending up in jail just because she was being herself. got raped not only by PRISONERS BUT OFFICERS TOO! This is not okay. this is not acceptable. we are with you. (sic)”
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