PESHAWAR: The TransAction Alliance and other civil society organisations have expressed grave concerns over arrest of 35 transgender persons in Saudi Arabia and urged the Saudi government to release the details so that their families could take necessary steps for their release.

Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Monday, TransAction Alliance provincial president Farzana Jan shared details about arrest of the transgender persons and death of two of them in police custody in Saudi Arabia.

“We want to know the details, under what charges the people have been arrested, what is their medical condition and if they are alive,” she said and added that she had received information about death of two transgender persons in police custody but no one knew where their bodies were.

Farzana said that her organisation would receive the bodies of the two transgender persons if they were not buried in Saudi Arabia. She demanded of the Saudi government to release the detained persons on humanitarian grounds.

TransAction Alliance chief says two of arrested persons died in custody of Saudi police

Farzana said that a group of transgender persons gathered on February 26 in Riyadh for a meeting when personnel Azizia police station picked them. They were packed into sacks and thrashed with sticks by police as a result two of them, Amina from Swat and Menno from Peshawar, died, she added.

Flanked by rights activist Qamar Naseem, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network coordination Taimur Kamal, she that she was ready to share the details about the transgender community in Saudi Arabia only to National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) Pakistan and Senator Farhatullah Babar, member of Senate committee on amalgamated persons, because the information could put lives of relevant persons at risk in Saudi Arabia.

Farzana said that the arrested persons should be presented to a court of law if they were involved in any kind of crime.

Nobody deserved to be punished for gender identity, she added.

She said that the 35 arrested persons belonged to various parts of Pakistan including Karachi, Sargodha, Charsadda, Peshawar and Mardan.

Speaking on the occasion, Qamar Naseem said that representatives of civil society organisations would hold meeting with Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani, adviser to chief minister and officials of human rights department to apprise them of the problems of transgender persons.

Taimur Kamal asked officials of directorate of human rights to take notice of the issue and play role in release of the transgender persons from Saudi prison.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2017



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