Members of Kuwait’s LGBT community have been harassed and arrested in recent days as part of the emirate’s ongoing campaign against immorality.

On Monday, an 18-year-old transgender man wearing the traditional dishdasha (long white robe) and keffiyeh (headdress) was arrested after a fight broke out over his appearance.

As Pink News reports:

The men mistakenly thought the transgender man was a male-to-female transgender woman and started to harass him. Two shops were damaged during the transphobic incident and the police arrested some of the men who caused the damage.

Instead of protecting or intervening to help, the police arrested him and he was charged with ‘imitating the opposite sex,’ reported Al-Anba.

In Kuwait, imitating the appearance of the opposite is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison or 1,000 dinars ($3,500).

Human-rights activists say the arrest is part of a larger effort by the Kuwaiti royal family to crack down on homosexuality and other sinful activity, in hopes of appeasing Muslim extremists pushing for stricter Sharia law in the country.

On Friday Al-Rai Media reported that in a raid of an abandoned building in Kuwait City, police arrested at least 10 LGBT teenagers for engaging in“satanic rituals” and “indecent acts,” including homosexuality. The youths claimed they were making a film but no equipment was discovered and the building had no electricity

Last week, a public restroom in a municipal park was closed because of  suspected “immoral activities of homosexuals.”

A trangender Kuwaiti activist tells Pink News these morality campaigns are “relentless”:

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. People who are arrested in such raids become social outcasts and pariahs, having no voice at all, as their most basic rights are being violated…

So many people in these raids are being thrown into prison without anyone listening to their plight. Some complained of abusive treatment and no human rights group here cares about this matter as they feel ashamed of handling such cases. Such organisations forget the forgetting that the right of any human being for dignity and fair trial regardless of their sex, nationality, race or sexuality.

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