In Brief

Two transgender women 'beaten to death' in Saudi Arabia

Amna and Meeno, aged 35 and 26, reportedly thrown into sacks and tortured by police

Saudi Arabia transgender LGBT

Two transgender women from Pakistan have allegedly been tortured to death by Saudi Arabian police, who reportedly threw them into sacks and beat them with sticks.

Known only as Amna and Meeno, they were among 35 people arrested for "cross dressing" during a police raid on a house in Riyadh, claim human rights activists.

"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," reports Pakistan's Express Tribune.

The group was said to be selecting a new "guru" at a "Guru Chela Chalan" gathering, a ceremony celebrated in the Pakistani transgender community, reports The Independent. Only 11 of them have been able to afford the 150,000 riyals (£33,000) payment for their release.

Gender reassignment surgery is illegal in Saudi Arabia, while homosexuality is punishable by death.

Qamar Naseem, a transgender rights activist from the Blue Veins campaign group, said it was a "very confusing" situation and that many people were feeling "delicate and scared".

He said: "Gender fluid people are treated badly, sometimes flogged, and if someone is arrested on the same law for a second time they can be executed.

"Torturing humans after throwing them into bags and beating them with sticks is inhumane. No one is there to save them as the life of a transgender is not of any value to anyone, not even for our own government."

Amnesty International said it had been unable to confirm the attack, but urged authorities to conduct a "thorough and independent" investigation. 

It said: "The authorities must diligently investigate any possible discriminatory motive in these crimes, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression."

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