Persecution of Homosexuals (Kuwait)

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Note that this page may contain news regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, and transsexual people (LGBTT)

Magazine sued and professor dismissed from Kuwait University for suggesting that homosexuality exists in the emirate. Famous novelist also facing obscenity charges for a book of short stories dealing with homosexuality

A woman has been dismissed from her professorial chair in Kuwait University for suggesting that that homosexuality exists in the emirate. Dr Alia Shoaib, aged 31, claimed that lesbianism was rampant among studients and that she had witnessed two women making love in the university toilets. One of them was heavily veiled, a manner of dress normally associated with militant Islam. The professor made the remarks in an informal conversation with a student who subsequently published them in a local magazine. The magazine, al-Hadaf, is now being sued for obscenity.
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In the Middle East, homosexuality is truly 'the love that dare not speak its name'. The issue of gay rights has never been raised and most gays are still very much in the closet. many live in fear of being discovered, for in a number of states, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, homosexual acts between adults are a capital offence. Since her comments, Dr Shaoib has faced an investigation by the university authorities and hints, she claims, of her citizenship being withdrawn. Her books of short stores and poems, which cover a variety of sexual themes, are also facing prosecution. Dr Fazia Khorafi, the female president of Kuwait University, who was responsible for her dismissal, claims that homosexuality does not exist in Kuwait. "Ours is a Muslim society and homosexuality is against Islam", she says. Dr Shaoib maintains that the segregation of men and women in Muslim societies has generated a repressive sexual climate. "Sexuality is locked up and is therefore being expressed in unorthodox forms", she said in an interview. "The gay lifestyle in the West is much more healthy.
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the information minister, Sheikh Saoud al-Nasser al-Sabah, says the professor's comments have "defamed the University and its students. We know that there are gays in Kuwait, but we are not San Francisco. They are hidden and should remain so," the Sheikh says. University professors say the case has implications for the freedom of speech of both teachers and students in the University. One female professor was forced to submit to an investigation recently after being accused by an Islamic militant student of teaching the theories of Darwin. "Ours is becoming a puritanical society, and Dr Alia's case case has made us all frightened," says one female professor who does not want to be identified. Even so, homosexuality is a theme which is just beginning to emerge in books and the media. Another leading Kuwaiti novelist, Leila Othman, is currently facing obscenity charges for her book "The Departure". It contains a short story about two Kuwaiti girls having a lesbian relationship, and another dealing with homosexuality among the emirate's immigrant labourers. Labourers are not allowed to bring their families with them, and are often housed in cramped conditions. Dr Shoaib's novels and poems are facing similar problems in being published. One book currently banned covers the issue of marital rape.
Kuwait sacks professor who dared to speak of Gays
Kathy Evans, The Guardian, March 29, 1997

Widespread arrests of over a dozen cross-dressers. Subjected to physical and psychological abuse, they remain in Tahla Prison

Authorities should immediately release more than a dozen persons jailed under Kuwait’s new dress-code law, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, approved by the National Assembly on December 10, 2007, criminalizes people who “imitate the appearance of the opposite sex.”

“The wave of arrests in the past month shows exactly why Kuwait should repeal this repressive law,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East division at Human Rights Watch. “Kuwaiti authorities should immediately drop all charges against those arrested, and investigate charges of ill-treatment in detention.”
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On December 18, 2007, Al Watan newspaper announced the arrests of three people at a police checkpoint in Salimeya, 10 km southeast of Kuwait City. Days later, police arrested three more people at a checkpoint in Kuwait City. On December 21, security officials detained another three people on Restaurant Street in the Hawalli district, 8 km south of Kuwait City. The same day, two other people were detained at another police checkpoint. Authorities have reportedly arrested three more people in January, one in a coffee shop and two in a taxi stopped by police. Police arrested all 14 because they believed they were “imitating the appearance of the opposite sex.”

All the people detained are being held in Tahla Prison. Friends of the accused told Human Rights Watch that police and prison guards subjected the detainees to physical and psychological abuse. Al-Rai newspaper quoted police as saying that the “confused [men were] deposited in the special ward,” and that the prison administration ordered guards to shave their heads as a form of punishment. The paper quoted a prison administrator as saying “this step [shaving heads] follows the passage of the law concerning men who imitate the appearance of women.” Friends report that at least three of the prisoners were beaten and one was left unconscious. Authorities deported one Saudi Arabian national among those arrested, to face trial in that country. None of the detainees has access to legal representation.

Police raid a party where homosexuals celebrate a wedding, and 28 gays are charged with "creating a public disturbance" after they met outside a fast-food restaurant

There were no developments in the 2006 case in which police raided a party where homosexuals were allegedly celebrating a wedding. In 2005 police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast‑food restaurant. Unmarried men faced housing discrimination based solely on marital status. Emiri decree 125 of 1992 prohibits single men from obtaining accommodation in many urban residential areas as determined by the Municipal Council. At year's end the government had not completed the 2005 plan by the Council of Ministers to construct housing for noncitizen single males on the outskirts of the capital and remove them from urban residential areas.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 11, 2008

Police arrest two gays for committing 'immoral' acts inside a car

Police have arrested a 20-year-old Kuwaiti and a Lebanese gay for committing immoral acts inside a car. They were caught in the parking lot of a commercial complex, reports Alam Alyawm daily. The ‘lovers’ were arrested at a late evening hour by police patrol from Hawalli.
Gays caught in car; Hunt for mom
Arab Times, December 2, 2009

Two young cross-dressers arrested by security-men, taken to a nearby police station for interrogation and legal action

Securitymen arrested two young cross-dressers in Salmiya recently.

While patrolling the area, the securitymen noticed the suspicious behavior of two young girls, who were strolling around late at night. However, when the officers demanded for the identification cards of the youths, it turned they were actually young boys clad in girls’ clothes. They were taken to a nearby police station for interrogation and other necessary legal action.
Boys in girls garb
Arab Times, October 25, 2011

Two lesbians who were allegedly caught making love on a beach are whisked away by police for interrogation

Two lesbians who were allegedly caught making love on a beach at Anjafah have been referred to the authorities for interrogation, reports Al-Rai daily.

According to security sources the arrest came when an unidentified woman witnessed an unusual behavior among the ‘young women’ and called the Operations Department of the Ministry of Interior.

However, when police rushed to the spot they did see the women sitting side by side but did not see anything unusual. However, when another person supported the testimony of the woman who had called police, the women were whisked away for interrogation.

Three male youths arrested in a shopping mall for cross-dressing

Three male youths were arrested in Salmiya area for cross-dressing, reports Al-Rai daily.

Apparently, the three youths were dressed like females, laughing loudly in an attempt to attract other men inside a shopping mall when some shoppers called security operatives. Upon arrival, policemen found out they were three male friends. A case was registered against them in a police station.
Obscene messages; Cross-dressers held
Arab Times, December 11, 2011

Police raid apartments and arrest five cross-dressers and four homosexuals, referring them to the authorities for committing "immoral acts"

During a security campaign in Hawalli and Salmiya, police armed with a search and arrest warrant raided many suspect apartments and arrested 20 men, 15 young women, five cross-dressers and four homosexuals and referred them to the authorities for committing immoral acts.

The same police also raided a gambling ‘den’ in the area and arrested some young men and women, some of whom were under the influence of alcohol.

According to security sources the campaigns will continue against those who commit illegal acts. The sources said teenagers caught during the raids will be returned to their parents while the others will be referred to the concerned authorities.

The sources said the raids will cover coffee shops, billiards halls and all suspect apartments.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian was arrested at Kuwait International Airport for the possession of three rolls of hashish and 18 narcotic pills.

Police arrest 10 people, four of them cross-dressers, in a raid on their apartment in Salmiya. They are now being "referred" to the "concerned authorities"

During a raid on a suspect apartment in Salmiya, police are said to have arrested 10 people – four of them cross-dressers, four young women and two youths, reports Al-Rai daily.

The daily quoting security sources said police acting on a tip-off raided the apartment and referred the suspects to the concerned authorities.

Police arrest a 20-year-old cross-dresser and referred him to the General Department for Criminal Investigation, after he was "caught" when he asked a passing patrol to help him change a flat car tyre

Police have arrested a 20-year-old cross-dresser and referred him to the General Department for Criminal Investigation, reports Al-Shahed daily.

The suspect was caught when he asked a passing patrol to help him change a flat car tyre.

At first glance police thought it was a woman but when they checked the ID they discovered the truth.
Cross-dresser held
Arab Times, May 22, 2012

Morality police arrest at least 10 LGBT teenagers suspected of homosexuality for “satanic rituals” and “indecent acts” under a crackdown in the name of “morality”, another 20 men arrested for “suspicious parties”

Kuwait’s morality police have reportedly arrested at least 10 LGBT teenagers in the country for “satanic rituals” under a crackdown in the name of “morality.”

Security sources in the country have said that the LGBT youth were targeted under “vice” claims. reported that the 10 teenagers between the ages of 16- and 18-years-old were arrested on June 8 after police alleged the rituals and “indecent acts” taking place.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Rai in addition claimed that they are also “suspected of homosexuality.”

Kuwaiti police “received complaints” the group held nightly meetings in a disused building in Al-Sharq district of Kuwait city, the report said.
. . .
Al-Rai has also reported that 20 men and one woman were arrested in the areas of Salamiya and Hawalli of Kuwait city for “suspicious parties.”

The al-Anba daily claimed the number of people arrested was 27 in several suspect apartments where they usually meet to commit “immoral activities.”
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These ‘morality campaigns’ that have greatly intensified this year are ‘continuous and relentless’, a transgender Kuwaiti activist stated.

She reported that in fact ‘many of the people arrested are just having private parties, but the police allege they were engaged in prostitution, drinking, and so called “immoral activities”.

“The laws in Kuwait allow the police to violate the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Charges are often fabricated and thus this is essentially an assault and violation of people’s right to dignity and a fair trial,” the report added.

215 young homosexuals arrested during an extensive campaign at Internet cafes and 'suspicious places'

Personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department during an extensive campaign at Internet cafes and suspicious places in the six governorates have arrested 215 young homosexuals and lesbians of various nationalities, reports Al-Anba daily.

A security source said 30 low rank officers took part in the campaign and some of the arrested persons are believed to be residence law violators and others wanted by law for committing petty crimes or on civil charges and yet others for gambling.

The violators have been referred to the authorities.