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Saudi authorities deny beating two Pakistani trans women to death

Joseph McCormick March 7, 2017
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Pakistani transgender protestors (ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani transgender protestors (ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have denied reports that two trans women from Pakistan were “beaten to death” in police custody.

Reports from last week suggested initially that more than 30 men dressed as women were arrested by police in Saudi, and that two of them were beaten to death while in custody.

Later reports, many of which originated in Pakistani media, identified the dozens arrested and the two killed as transgender women.

But on Tuesday, the Saudi interior ministry said the reports were “totally wrong and nobody was tortured”, despite acknowledging that one of the people arrested had died in custody.

“One 61-year-old person suffered a heart attack and died in the hospital after being treated,” the interior ministry statement said on Tuesday.

The Saudi media had last week reported that those arrested had attended a party as men where they dressed in women’s clothes and wore makeup.

But these reports had been refuted by transgender activist Farzana Riaz, who in a news conference on Monday said her sources had confirmed to her that two of those arrested, trans women, had been beaten to death with sticks after being arrested.

“We are deeply saddened by the deaths of these two innocent trans persons in Saudi Arabia,” Riaz said.

She also showed the press conference in Peshawar photos of those still in police custody she says were sent to her by contacts still inside Saudi.

Text messages were also shown at the conference.

Despite Saudi Arabia having no laws against being transgender, arrests have been made in the country for those found cross-dressing.

Related topics: Asia, Middle East, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Trans, Transgender

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