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Two transgender Pakistanis tortured to death by Saudi police

A Pakistani transvestite takes a part in a rally with others to support their arrested colleague Raani, whose real name was given as Kashif, in Peshawar June 3, 2010. Pakistani police arrested what they said last week was an entire wedding party at a ceremony between a man and a transvestite, accusing the pair of promoting homosexuality in the devoutly Muslim country. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY)

Peshawar [Pakistan]: Two transgender Pakistanis, both natives of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), died on Tuesday after being subjected to torture allegedly by Saudi police in Riyadh for cross-dressing in public.

According to the Express Tribune, thirty-five transgender people were arrested by a law enforcement agency for cross-dressing, which is a punishable offence in the kingdom.

A rest house was raided where a ‘Guru Chela Chalan’ gathering, a formal meeting of Khuwaja Sara in which they choose their Guru (leader) and Chelas (Students), was taking place.

Amna, 35, who belonged to the Mingora area of Swat and Meeno, 26, who was from Peshawar died in police custody. The police allegedly packed them in sacks and thrashed them with sticks in prison.

Colonel Fawaz bin Jameel alMaiman, the police’s media spokesperson in Riyadh, told a local news agency that the field-control management had the site under constant surveillance. Women’s clothing and jewellery were also recovered from the rest house.

He added that the 35 people inside had been apprehended.

While 11 were released later after paying a fine of 150,000 riyals, 22 are still in police custody, said Qamar Naseem, a transgender rights activist.

The suffering ended for these two after being physically tortured, however, the rest are still languishing in Saudi jails, he added.

Naseem said that the National Commission for Human Rights had been contacted and they are awaiting their response.

Farzana, a transgender, said that if they were involved in any illegal activity the police should take them to court instead of thrashing them like animals.

She claimed the kingdom would not even allow a transgender person to perform Hajj or Umrah.

In 2016, local media reported that the Saudi consul-general in Islamabad, in a notification issued to the Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP), warned against granting visas to transgender persons for Umrah pilgrimage.

TAAP has denied receiving instructions from the Saudi government for not issuing visas to transgender persons who wish to visit the holy land. (ANI)