Two transgender Pakistanis have died in Riyadh on Tuesday (28 February) after allegedly being tortured by the Saudi Arabia police. It is alleged they were forced into sacks by the police and then thrashed to death with sticks.

According to reports, the deceased came from the Pakistani province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Amna (35) and Meeno (26) were arrested in Riyadh for cross-dressing in public as it is a punishable offence in the kingdom.

The two were among the transgender people arrested during a police raid on a rest house. The house was raided when a meeting was going on in which they were supposed to choose their leader and his students.

However, 11 of them were later released after they paid fines, while 22 are still in custody. Qamar Naseem, a transgender rights activist, said the torture session ended soon for Amna and Meeno as they succumbed to injuries, while the rest were languishing in jail.

"Majority of the arrested, belong to K-P and the others from other cities of Pakistan. 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," Naseem said.

Farzana, another transgender person, said the police's action was unethical as the people were not involved in any criminal activity. Farzana also said that in Saudi Arabia transgender people are not even allowed to perform Hajj or Umrah – a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims.

Transgender people
Supporters of civil rights group for transgender people in Pakistan, the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), chanting slogans for equal rights - File photo REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro