'Raped by the Police': Kuwait's First Trans Woman's Video Prompts Angry Reactions on Both Sides

Published June 7th, 2020 - 06:22 GMT
'Raped by the Police': Kuwait's First Trans Woman's Video Prompts Angry Reactions on Both Sides
Sympathizing Twitter users launched the hashtag #FreeMahaAlmutairi to support her. (Twitter: @plazynoodles)

In a video she posted on Snapchat, Kuwaiti trans woman Maha Almutairi, who is often described as Kuwait's first openly transgender person spoke out for the first time about "police's violations against her" including sexual harassment and rape.

Translation: "Maha Almutairi aka Totwa Almutairi is a Kuwaiti transgender woman who's suffered because of police violence and decided to turn herself in. We, Arab LGBTQ community should protect her using the two hashtags."
 
As soon as the video was posted, social media users widely shared it across different networks, expressing their support for Maha and demanding justice for her.
 

Sobbing, Maha Almutairi explains that she was arrested as per Kuwaiti laws that criminalizes "imitating the appearance of the opposite sex" before she was imprisoned in a men's jail.  Almutairi continues to reveal that "she was sexually harassed and even raped by policemen."

Sympathizing Twitter users launched the hashtag #FreeMahaAlmutairi to support her, demanding government action to abolish the 198 Article, which has for years justified arresting transgender people in the conservative country. Additionally, a petition and a donations campaign have been started in favor of her cause. 

Several doctors and lawyers also expressed their desire to defend Maha in courts "until she receives the justice she deserves."

Translation: "Please anyone who knows her personally; can you tell her I'm ready to be her attorney and to represent her in front of every government institution. Please ask her to contact me."

Translation: "I've received a medical report that shows Kuwaiti cases with no cure, simply because this is how they were born. It's their nature and sexual identity. I totally reject excluding them from society, so is assaulting or bullying them. They are innocent people who ask for nothing but to live in peace."

Meanwhile, many users argued that Maha should take responsibility for violating law rules in the country where she lives. 

Translation: "If you want to live in peace in any country, the least you can do is to respect its laws. Kuwaiti laws are all derived from Islamic sharia, so if you don't follow it, you can't complain, just like you don't complain about laws in countries you visit. Every person can enjoy their freedom but within existing laws."


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