Kuwait court overturns law banning ‘imitation of opposite sex’

A picture taken on June 18, 2017 shows a general view of the Palace of Justice in Kuwait City [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]

Originally posted to The Middle East Monitor website, 16 February 2022 

Kuwait’s Constitutional Court today overturned an article of the penal code criminalising the imitation of the opposite sex, in a move welcomed by Amnesty International as a “major breakthrough” for transgender rights in the Gulf Arab region, Reuters reports.

The court said in a statement on its website that article 198 was unconstitutional because it did not provide “objective standards” to identify the offence, and that the general phrasing risked violating personal freedoms.

Amnesty International said the court in December had accepted a legal challenge to the article, which was amended in 2007 to criminalise “imitating the opposite sex in any way”, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

“The Kuwaiti authorities must now ensure that Article 198 is repealed in its entirety,” Amnesty said in a statement, describing it as deeply discriminatory and overly vague.

It urged them to release those imprisoned under the article.

Kuwait court overturns law banning ‘imitation of opposite sex’ – Middle East Monitor

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