HRW calls on Kuwait to stop punitive acts towards transgender Kuwaitis

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10/17/2021

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Kuwait to end its suppression of the LGBTQ community in a report published on Thursday, following the conviction and imprisonment of Maha-al-Mutairi, a transgender woman. She was charged with allegedly violating telecommunication laws by “imitating the opposite sex” online. These claims were brought under Article 70 of the Communication and Information technology law and Article 198 of the Penal code. On October 3, the court sentenced her to two years imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 Kuwait dinars. She was arrested on October 11 and is currently detained at a men’s prison in a solitary confinement cell that is designated for transgender people. Al-Mutairi reported to HRW that this was her sixth arrest that targeted her gender identity. In 2020 alone she was charged four times with “imitating women.” While no abuses in custody have thus been reported as her lawyer says, al-Mutairi told HRW about previous instances of violence and abuse she has faced while incarcerated in a men’s facility.

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